Led by Christina Manning, Ohio State dominates the competition for historic win
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Ohio State women’s track and field team put on a show for the ages in winning the first Big Ten title in program history Sunday afternoon at the 2011 Big Ten Indoor Championships inside Purdue University’s Lambert Field House.
With a total of 122.50 points, the Buckeyes crushed their conference rivals on the second day of the competition, compiling 97.5 points Sunday to create a 36.50 point gap between themselves and three-time defending champion Penn State, the second-place finisher with 86 points. Third-place went to Minnesota (73).
“It was an amazing day for our program,” head coach Karen Dennis said after the meet. “At the beginning of the season I told the ladies on paper this is the most talented team I’ve ever had. This weekend they proved themselves with some outstanding performances and a well-deserved championship. Today was for the seniors (my first recruiting class), the alumnae who came before us and the parents who came to support us, no matter what our finish. My coaches did an amazing job preparing our women, our trainers kept us in one piece and our strength coaches were with us every step of the way. We’ll enjoy the victory through tomorrow, then get back to work preparing for nationals.”
The Scarlet and Gray captured a total of two individual titles, five silver medals and 16 Top 5 finishes on the weekend. Leading the charge was All-American Christina Manning, who stated her case for Athlete of the Championships with a conference title in the 60m hurdles and second-place finishes in both the 60m and 200m dashes.
Manning and senior Letecia Wright pulled off a historic 1-2 sweep in the 60m hurdles, shattering their previous personal best times in the process. Manning edged her Maryland counterpart with a blistering 8.01 sprint, the fastest time in the nation this season, an NCAA automatic qualifier, and the second-fastest time in school history. Wright just missed out on the first individual conference crown of her career, crossing the finish line in 8.03, an NCAA automatic qualifier, the third-best time in school history and the second fastest time nationally. Sophomore Christienne Linton finished eighth in 8.64, bringing the Buckeyes’ total points in the event to 19.
Ohio State’s sprinters pulled off a stunning upset in the 60m dash, with Madison McNary and Manning finishing 1-2 ahead of 12-time Big Ten champion and All-American Shavon Greaves of Penn State. McNary won the first conference title of her Buckeye career, shattering the Ohio State school record with a time of 7.27, the 12th-fastest time in Division I. Manning finished just behind her fellow junior in 7.29, the second-best time in school history and 13th-best performance in the nation. Greaves was third in 7.37, followed by Chimerem Okoroji of Minnesota (7.43) and OSU freshman Chesna Sykes (7.49), who tied her personal record. Linton finished seventh in 7.50 – tied for her PR – as the Buckeyes compiled a total of 24 points in the event.
Manning finished her record-setting day in style, taking home runner-up honors in the 200m dash with a season-best time of 23.78, the third-best time in school history. McNary was third in 24.05 as Greaves won the title with an NCAA automatic qualifying and Lambert Field House record time of 23.67. Wright also scored for the Buckeyes, finishing sixth in 24.49. In all, Ohio State added 17 points to their team score.
The Buckeye 4x400m relay team, anchored by Shaniqua McGinnis, would end the meet on a high note, earning six points with a third-place time of 3:40.59, the fifth-best in school history. Penn State took first-place in 3:37.80, followed by Iowa (3:40.38). Latoya Sanderson, Jackie Dim and Nyjah Cousar joined McGinnis as bronze medalists.
Here are more highlights from day two at the Big Ten indoor championships for OSU:
A PR jump of 12.58m (41-3.25) helped Kelcey McKinney to second-place and eight points. Ashley Stacey of Michigan State captured the title with a 12.69m (41-7.75) jump on her final attempt.
Ohio State placed two athletes in the Top 5, led by bronze medalist Maggie Mullen, who set a PR at 20.27m (66-6). Alexis Thomas finished fifth for the Buckeyes with a PR of 19.16m (62-10.50), bringing the team’s point total in the event to 10. Purdue’s Dani Bunch finished in first-place with a 20.54m (67-4.25) heave.
McGinnis finished fourth in the 400m finals with a time of 55.54. Dim was seventh with a season-best time of 56.13, bringing the Buckeye point total in the event to 7. Ashley Kelley of Illinois won the gold medal in 54.54.
Ashley Galbraith followed up her third-place effort in the heptathlon Saturday with a fifth-place finish in the high jump – the junior cleared the bar at 1.73m (5-8), contributing 3.5 points toward OSU’s team score. The conference title went to Wisconsin’s Monika Jakutyte at 1.82m (5-11.50).
Sophomore Tori Brink claimed 3 points for her team with a sixth-place finish in 2:11.84, the sixth-best time in school history. Michigan’s Jillian Smith won the event with a Field House record time of 2:06.96.
Freshman Meredith Wagner just missed the podium for the second day in a row, setting a PR with a ninth-place time of 16:46.54, the fourth-best indoor time in school history. Emily MacLeod completed the Big Ten long distance sweep, winning the conference title in 16:25.10.
Final Team Rankings
1) Ohio State – 122.50 points
2) Penn State – 86
3) Minnesota – 73
4) Michigan – 68.50
5) Indiana – 67
6) Michigan State – 65
7) Illinois – 61
8) Purdue – 56
8) Iowa – 56
10) Wisconsin – 47