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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s track and field team finds itself in third place after day one at the 2010 Big Ten Outdoor Championships in Bloomington, Ind.

Thanks in large part to a surprising outcome in the hammer throw, the Buckeyes amassed a total of 15 points on the first day of competition at Indiana University. Three-time defending champion Minnesota leads the field with 34 points, with Wisconsin in second (19).

Thirteen of the 15 Buckeye points on the day came from the hammer, where Max Mays and Thomas Davis took the field by storm with a pair of personal records. Mays led the way with a second-place toss of 61.13m (200-07), the sixth-best mark in Ohio State history, while Davis finished fourth at 59.74m (196 ft.). Minnesota’s Micah Hegerle won the Big Ten title with a 63.47m (208-03) toss, with Sean Pruitt of Michigan settling for third at 60.02m (196-11). Buckeye Billy Gehrig also turned in a solid performance, finishing ninth at 57.46m (188-06). 

“Our hammer throwers really got us going today,” Ohio State head coach Robert Gary said after the event. “The whole team was out there and I was very proud we had three young men who had never made finals score 13 points. Coach Kevin Mannon has done an outstanding job of developing all of our throwing events.”

Heath Nickles earned the final two team points on the day for Ohio State with a seventh-place finish in the pole vault (4.90m/16-0.75). Ben Peterson, the 2010 indoor champion, defended his title with a winning vault of 5.40m (17-8.50), ninth-best in Division I.

Nickles had a busy day for the Buckeyes, competing in the decathlon along with the pole vault. At the end of the first day of competition, the redshirt freshman sits in 10th-place with 3469 points, with his best finish coming in the 400m dash (third, 50.21 seconds). All-American R.J. McGinnis of Minnesota leads the field with a score of 3908.

Action from Bloomington resumes tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. ET with the 110m hurdle section of the decathlon.