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COLUMBUS, Ohio – French Field House re-opened its doors Saturday afternoon as the Ohio State men’s track and field team opened the 2010 season at the Buckeye Classic.

The kickoff to the indoor season was a great warm-up for the Buckeyes heading into next weekend’s showdown in Ann Arbor at the annual OSU-Michigan “Dual.” It also provided a chance for the program to unveil its new and improved indoor facility to alumni and fans.

“I thought we had some good performances that bode well for the dual meet at Michigan next week,” head coach Robert Gary said after the meet. “I thought for the first meet of the year, we were pretty solid.

“It was great to re-open our home track for the fans,” Gary continued. “All of the alumni seemed really impressed by all of the upgrades. We look forward to hosting some big meets here within the next year or two.”

An invitational that allowed many of Ohio State’s young talent the opportunity to shine also witnessed a bit of star power from an All-American – sophomore Thomas Murdaugh opened his second year in Columbus with a dominating performance in the 400m dash. The sophomore’s time of 48.25 was almost a full second faster than second-place Aaron Roberts (49.22). Newcomer Marvel Brooks made it a clean sweep of the Top 3 for the Buckeyes with a third-place time of 49.55.

Freshman Derek Blevins opened his Buckeye career with a first-place finish in the long jump. The Raytown, Mo. native’s jump of 7.13m (23-4.75) edged fellow OSU freshman Korbin Smith (6.79m/22-3.50). Blevins followed up his win in the long jump with a victory in the triple jump (14.64m/48-0.5).

Buckeye senior Brandon Woodard won the 600m run with a time of 1:20.96. Elon Simms, returning from injured-plagued 2009, opened up 2010 with a solid second-place effort of 1:21.02. Redshirt freshman Jared Hall took third just behind Simms at 1:21.02, followed by teammate Marcus Brooks (1:21.42).

Curtis Leuenberger was the champion in the 200m dash with a time of 21.97. Findlay’s Lyndon Johnson took second in a time of 22.32, followed by sophomore Blake Callahan at 22.58.

A run of 8:22.86 earned redshirt freshman Cory Leslie a victory in the 3000m run. Chad Balyo gave Leslie a run for his money, but was unable to pull out the win, instead settling for second in 8:23.64.

Daniel White opened the season with a win in the mile run. White’s time of 4:13.39 was well ahead of second-place finisher Daryl Murphy (4:20.34).

Clearing the bar at 2.00m (6-6.75), senior Ryan Blake managed a first-place finish in the high jump. Joel Smith took second, while former Buckeye and current volunteer assistant Patrick Woods finished third at 1.95m (6-4.75).

Redshirt freshman Heath Nickles finished first in the pole vault, vaulting to 4.70m (15-5). Alan Dague, a junior from Galloway, Ohio, was second.

Joel Brown, a 2005 Ohio State graduate and volunteer coach with the women’s track team, won the 60m dash with a 6.85 second sprint. Buckeye senior Stephen Robinson finished second with a time of 6.85, with freshman Matt Terrell debuting in third (6.97).

Brown also captured first-place in the finals of the 60m hurdles, crossing the finish line in 7.78 seconds. Ohio State senior Jonathan Francois finished second with a time of 8.04. 

A.G. Kruger took home the title in the weight throw with a toss of 23.45m (76-11.25). Robert Klenk was a distant second at 21.17m (69-5.50), while Ohio State sophomore Matt DeChant, competitng unattached, finished third (18.82m/61-9). DeChant also took second in the shot put at 17.11m (56-1.75).

Ohio State’s 4x400m relay teams went one-two to close out the day’s events. The team of Robinson, Woodard, Simms and Murdaugh claimed the title with a time of 3:15.06, while Marvel Brooks, Marcus Brooks, Jared Hall and Rob Baisden finished second in 3:16.81.

The Buckeyes return to action next Sat., Jan 16, for the annual “Dual” with rival Michigan. OSU’s next home meet, the Buckeye Tune-up, is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 19 inside French Field House.