Aug. 23, 2005
Columbus, Ohio –
Olinger to Captain Men’s Squad
Brian Olinger enters his senior season in 2005 and will serve as team co-captain. In 2004, he gained All-America status with a 21st-place finish at the NCAA Championships with a 10-kilometer mark of 31:42. Olinger qualified for nationals with a fourth-place time of 30:18.7 in the regional meet 10K race. He also will stand as a viable competitor for the Big Ten 8K title after taking seventh last season in 24.21.0. The native of Fresno, Ohio will attempt to successfully defend his 2004 individual championship at the All-Ohio meet Oct. 7 in Delaware, Ohio. He won the 2004 All-Ohio title with a time of 25:28.5 in the 8K. Olinger also turned in a spectacular track season. He gained his first All-America honor during the indoor year and set an OSU record in the 5,000-meter run. Despite redshirting the outdoor collegiate season, Olinger qualified for the 2005 USA National Championships in June in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, where he finished fourth with a then-career time of 8:28.44. Most recently, he broke the 8:20 mark at the KBC Night of Athletics in Heusden, Belgium, with a time of 8:19.56, which stands as the second fastest time ever run by an American collegiate. “Redshirting Brian (during the 2005 outdoor track season) helped him become one of the best American steeplers running today,” head coach Robert Gary said. “He will be one of the favorites to win the 2006 NCAA steeple title and will also have a good shot at a top finish at the NCAA cross country meet.”
Glaz, Penza Named Co-Captains
Senior Dan Glaz also is expected to provide leadership in 2005 after sitting out last season as a redshirt. He is coming off some of his finest career times in the 5K and 10K during the outdoor track season, setting the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in the 10K at 29:14.29. Matt Penza also will suit up for his final season of eligibility and will be relied on as a leader as well. Valuable Experience Gained in 2004 Several underclassmen performed well in 2004 and will be looked upon for greater accomplishments as they enter their roles as upperclassmen in 2005. Junior Glenn Collins posted a pair of Top 10 finishes last year at the Lou Onesty Invite and the All-Ohio meet. He also placed 36th at the NCAA regional and will be looked upon to assist Olinger as a team leader in 2005. Collins will be joined by Kevin Bruffy, who redshirted the 2004 season, but had a career-year on the track. He placed sixth at the Big Ten meet in the steeplechase and qualified for his first NCAA Mideast regional meet in the event.
The sophomore class is loaded with top performers from a year ago. John Ealy leads the pack after claiming 2004 Big Ten Male Freshman of the Year honors. He took 15th at the conference meet in 24:58 before crossing the finish line in 21st place at the NCAA regional meet and narrowly missed All-American status (by three positions) at nationals. His top 8K time of the season (24.41.3) came at the Pre-Nationals meet, while his 30:49.3 10K best was good for the 21st-place time at regionals. “John was among the best freshmen in the country last season,” Gary said. “I would be surprised if he is not an All-American this year.” Fellow sophomores Matt Buzek and Braden Martinez also will look to improve upon solid first campaigns as Buckeyes. Martinez missed a portion of the schedule last season with an injury, but recovered to run in the NCAA championships. Buzek ran his best 8K time (25:32.0) at the Big Ten championships to place in the Top 50. “Braden started to come around during the outdoor (track) season last year,” Gary said. “We need him to run with John and finish in the Top 10 at the NCAA (cross country) meet this year.” Both Ealy and Martinez were NCAA Mideast Regional qualifiers in the 5K during the outdoor track season.
Freshman Sensations Arrive in `05
If the men’s roster was not impressive enough, it is bolstered by the addition of two outstanding freshmen prospects in Levi Fox and Jeff See. See is coming off the national high school track and field championship in the mile. He won the Nike Outdoor Nationals mile with a time of 4:03.53 after completing a high school career that featured four individual state track championships, including three in the mile. As a sophomore, he broke Olympian Alan Webb’s high-school sophomore mile record. A native of Middletown, Ohio, See also is a two-time Ohio state cross country champion, winning his junior and senior seasons. Last year, he won the Footlocker Midwest cross country regional 5K in 15:22. Fox, who placed just one second behind See at the 2004 Footlocker Midwest Regional with a time of 15:23, was the state runner-up to See in 2004 and finished fourth in the state in 2003 behind winner See and runner-up and current teammate John Ealy. Fox, of Troy, Ohio, also posted a 15:38 to take 10th at the Footlocker National Championships in San Diego, Calif. He concluded his scholastic track and field career as Ohio Division I state champ in the 3,200 meters. “Jeff and Levi proved last season why they make up one of the best recruit classes in the NCAA,” Gary said. “I expect both of them to come in and make an immediate impact.”
Ohio State travels south to the Cincinnati area for the Xavier Invitational Sept. 10 to open the season and remains in the state of Ohio the next week for the Cedarville Invitational Sept. 17 in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The team steps out of state for the first of two scheduled trips to Minneapolis. On Sept. 24, the Buckeye will run in the Roy Griak Invite on the same course they will run for the 2005 Big Ten Championships Oct. 30. To start October, the Buckeyes return to their home state seeking a successful defense of the 2004 All-Ohio Championship. Brian Olinger, the individual winner from a year ago, will captain the Buckeyes as they look to for a repeat performance. The first meet on the national scale is scheduled for Oct. 15 as the Buckeyes travel to Terre Haute, Ind., for the Pre-Nationals two weeks prior to the Big Ten meet. The NCAA Great Lakes Regional also will take place in Indiana, moving to Bloomington Nov. 12. Ohio State’s national qualifiers will run in the NCAA Championships Nov. 21 back in Terre Haute. “We run as strong a schedule as anyone in the country,” Gary said. “Our two main focuses will be the Big Ten meet and the NCAA’s. Our schedule will build us up for those meets.
Cass and Poling Provide Senior Leadership for Women
Sarah Cass and Chelsea Poling are the veterans of the women’s team in 2005. Each has experienced marked improvements in each of their three previous seasons with the Buckeyes. Last year, Poling posted her top 5K time at the All-Ohio meet, crossing the finish line in 18:59.4 to take 17th place. She also had a Top 20 showing at the season-opening Onesty Invite. “Chelsea is a tough competitor who loves cross country,” Assistant coach Chad Myers said. “She is coming off an injury, so I’m looking for her to step up again and compete hard and lead this team.” Cass has competed in all 10 events the last two seasons for the Buckeyes. She posted her best 5K time at the All-Ohio in 19:33.1. “Sarah is a hard worker who wants to excel in everything she does,” Myers said. “I’m looking for her to step it up in her last year and compete well.”
Juniors, Sophomores Expected to Fuel Team
Based on her performance last season, Melanie Price also qualifies as a leader in her junior season. The Cincinnati native was the top Ohio State finisher at the league meet last season, taking 41st. She also was the highest OSU placer at the All-Ohio meet with a 16th-place time of 18:54, which served as her 5K best in 2004. Myers foresees Price building upon her success in 2004, especially after her much-improved times during the 2005 outdoor track season, where she established a school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. “Melanie is coming off a good season of track where she was an NCAA Regional qualifier in the steeple at 10:46,” Myers said. “I’m looking for Melanie to be one of our key contributors this season.” If fellow junior Nicole Gliem can carry the success she has attained the last two track and field seasons to the grass course, she will supply major points for the cross country Buckeyes in 2005. Last spring, she qualified for her second NCAA Mideast Regional meet in the 5K and posted a career-best 16:28.44 at the meet to finish sixth, earning a bid to the national meet. Gliem and Price head into their third seasons as a Buckeye with classmate Jessica Neal, who did not compete in 2004. “Jessica can be a bit timid on the cross country course,” Myers said. “But, I’m looking for her to step things up this year, have a good summer of training and really contribute.” Sophomores comprise one-third of the 2005 roster. Laura Piper, the top miler on the track team, returns for her second season with the Scarlet and Gray. She ran in two cross country meets last season, posting a top 5K time of 19:25.5 at the All-Ohio. Melanie Grim and Brittanie Hall join Piper in their sophomore seasons. Hall ran in three meets a year ago and timed a best of 20:43.4. Grim did not run in 2004. “All three had strong track seasons,” Myers said. “Brittanie and Melanie both set “P.R.” times in the 5,000. Laura set “P.R.” times in the 1,500 (4:35) and the mile (4:55). They all are at home on the track and I look for them to transfer that competitiveness to the cross country course. I am looking for all three to be key contributors.”
Rachel Stichter joins Ohio State this season after completing a stellar scholastic career at Wawasee High School in Milford, Ind. “We are really looking forward to having Rachel compete for Ohio State,” Myers said. “She is an Indiana state runner-up in cross country with personal-record (P.R.) times of 13:53 for 4,000 meters. Rachel excels on the track as well. She was the 2005 3,200-meter state champion with a best of 10:41. She also has a “P.R.” of 4:56 in the 1,600 meter. Rachel is a good cross country runner. I will be looking for her to come in and be a key contributor to this squad.” In addition, Stacey Pearson comes from the track distance team to run in her first season of cross country in 2005. “I’m looking for Stacey to come in this fall and get a season of training and competion under her belt,” Myers said. “She is coming off an injury from indoor track. She is healthy and looking to have a good summer of training.” Gary also is excited about the newcomers on the women’s team. “Recruiting the caliber of athlete like Rachel and especially focusing on the state of Ohio, is the No. 1 priority of our program,” Gary said. “I expect the women’s team to begin being competitive in the league like the men’s team.”
The women’s team will travel and compete in the same schedule as the men except for two meets in the middle of the season. On Sept. 24, the women will run in the Louisville Invitational in Louisville, Ky., while the men are in Minneapolis for the Griak Invite. After the teams jointly run in the All-Ohio meet Oct. 7, they split again Oct. 15 for national meets. The women head to State College, Pa., for the 2005 National Invitational, while the men are at Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind.