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4x400m relay wins fourth-consecutive conference crown; Robinson repeats as 200m champ

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s track team – fueled by conference titles by the 4x400m relay team and Stephen Robinson in the 200m dash – finished in third place Sunday afternoon at the 2010 Big Ten Championships in Bloomington, Ind.

Ohio State closed the 2010 championships with a total of 115 points. Minnesota won its fourth-straight Big Ten title with a team score of 145, while Wisconsin was the runner-up (124 pts.).

“I thought our guys competed really well today, especially our great group of seniors,” Ohio State head coach Robert Gary said after the meet. “The goal all year was to have a realistic shot at winning on the last day, and I thought we were in the ballpark – Minnesota just had another outstanding meet.”

The Buckeye 4x400m relay team of Brandon Woodard, Korbin Smith, Elon Simms and Thomas Murdaugh won its fourth-consecutive conference crown in a season-best time of 3:05.96, a Top 15 Division I performance. Iowa finished second in 3:07.75 despite holding the top time in the conference headed into the meet.

Robinson, a senior, captured his second 200m dash conference title this year, crossing the finish line in 21.18. Wisconsin’s Gavin Robertson was the runner-up in 21.38, while Buckeye junior Curtis Leuenberger took seventh in a season-best time of 21.72.

Robinson followed up his win in the 200m with a fifth-place finish in the 100m dash finals in 10.73. Matt Terrell finished seventh for OSU in 10.84 as Illinois Andrew Bayer took the title with a time of 10.54.

Simms wrapped up his career at the Big Ten championships with a runner-up time of 50.87 in the 400m hurdles, a season-best and Top 20 Division I performance. Iowa’s Ray Varner won the championship in a time of 50.61.

Defending Big Ten champion Murdaugh was upset by Iowa’s Steven Willey in the 400m dash finals. Murdaugh finished second in a time of 46.53 as Willey coasted to the win in 46.12. Brandon Woodard (47.78) and Korbin Smith (47.92, a personal record) finished seventh and eighth, respectively.

Matt DeChant and Tyler Branch turned in outstanding performances in the finals of the shot put, finishing third and fourth-respectively with a pair of season-best throws. DeChant earned six points thanks to this third-place toss of 18.06m (59-3), a Top 25 DI mark, while Branch was fourth at 18.02m (59-1.50), a personal record. Blake Eaton of Penn State finished first at 18.46m (60-6.75), Top 15 nationally.

A season-best throw of 63.02m (206-09) helped junior Bryan Bunnell to a third-place finish in the javelin. Iowa’s Matt Byers won the event at 67.22m (220-06).

All-American Jeff See finished fourth in the tightly-contested 1500m finals. See’s time of 3:44.69 was less than a minute behind the winning time set by Wisconsin All-American Jack Bolas. Bolas (3:43.79) and A-A teammate Craig Miller (3:44) swept the Top 2 positions for the Badgers, while Minnesota’s Ben Blankenship placed third in 3:44.21.

See closed his career at the Big Ten championships with a fourth-place effort of 13.58.22 in the 5000m run, fifth-best in OSU outdoor history. Indiana’ Andrew Poore was the winner with a time of 13:49.23, a Top 25 performance nationally.

The Buckeye 4x100m relay team of Jonathan Francois, Terrell, Robinson and Leuenberger finished fourth with a time of 40.70. Wisconsin, fourth in yesterday’s prelims, rebounded to take the conference title in 40.15.

2010 Big Ten Outdoor Championships
Final Results
1) Minnesota – 145 pts.
2) Wisconsin – 124
3) Ohio State – 115
4) Iowa – 86
5) Indiana – 82
6) Illinois – 70
7) Penn State – 52
7) Michigan State – 52
9) Purdue – 49
10) Michigan – 44 

Up Next
The Buckeyes will take a week off before competing at the 2010 East Regional Championships in Greensboro, N.C. on May 28.