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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s track and field team will get an early preview of the Big Ten championship track when it travels to Bloomington, Ind., this Friday for the Billy Hayes Invitational.

Hosted at the newly renovated Billy Hayes Track at Indiana, Friday’s meet is the final tune-up for the Buckeyes before the start of championship season. The new Polytan surface at IU is the first of its kind in the western hemisphere, and should help produce some fast times.

Action is scheduled to get underway at approximately 3:00 p.m. ET Friday. Live results will be available at iuhoosiers.cstv.com.  

Buckeyes Remain Third in USTFCCCA Great Lakes Regional Rankings
Ohio State held firm to the No. 3 spot in the May 4 edition of the Great Lakes regional rankings by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

With 653.14 team points, the Buckeyes trail Big Ten rivals Wisconsin (758.89) and Indiana (666.91) in the region. Rounding out the Top 5 are in-state foe Akron and Notre Dame.

The regional rankings – a new concept for the 2010 season – are designed to measure a team’s overall depth, whereas the national poll places greater emphasis on national championship contenders on a team’s roster. Based on this formula, OSU ranks among the Top 20 teams nationally.

Top 50 Buckeyes
10 members of the Ohio State men’s track and field team are ranked among the Top 50 in individual event competition by the USTFCCCA. A look at where the Buckeyes stand:

4x400m relay – No. 13
Jeff See – No. 14 in the 5000m, No. 49 in the 1500m
Thomas Murdaugh – No. 14 in the 400m
Adam Green – No. 16 in the steeplechase
Elon Simms – No. 32 in the 400m hurdles
Tyler Branch – No. 32 in the shot put
Cory Leslie – No. 35 in the steeplechase
Korbin Smith – No. 39 in the long jump
Ryan Blake – No. 47 in the high jump
Matt DeChant – No. 50 in the shot put
Jake Edwards – No. 52 in the 5000m

World’s Best
Buckeyes Jared Hall, Cory Leslie, Daniel White and Jeff See posted what at the time was a 2010 world-best performance in the 4x800m relay April 23 at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.

Also a school record, Ohio State’s time of 7:17.68 was only three seconds off of the Drake Stadium record. Big Ten rival Minnesota finished second in 7:18.18 as the Buckeyes sprinted past a deep and talented field of 15.

“This is obviously a tremendous accomplishment for our middle distance guys,” head coach Robert Gary said after the race. “It’s even more exciting considering three of our guys are preparing for races tomorrow. Jeff (See) being a senior led the way for us, but all three of our runners ran great to help our position. Jared Hall really helped us out with a 1:48 spilt, a personal best.”

The University of Virginia 4x800m relay team would top the Buckeyes’ effort with a winning time of 7:15.38 in the “Championship of America” at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia April 24.

Gee Casts Vote for Jesse Owens
Gordon Gee, President of The Ohio State University, cast his vote for Jesse Owens at the Ohio Historical Center in Columbus March 20. Owens is one of 10 candidates for a monument placement representing Ohio at Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C.

Owens, one of the great athletes of the 20th century, rose to international prominence as a student-athlete at Ohio State in the early 30s, recording world indoor records in both the 60-meter dash and 60-yard dash.

The defining moment of Owens’ career came in the 1936 Olympics in Nazi-controlled Berlin, Germany. Owens shattered Adolf Hitler’s myth of Aryan superiority by winning gold medals in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, broad jump and as a member of the United States 4×100-meter relay team.

In 1950, the Associated Press named Owens its Track Athlete of the First Half-Century. In 1955, the State Department named him America’s “Ambassador of Sports.” Owens toured the world, meeting with government and sports officials and promoting the virtues of amateur sports programs. In 1976, President Gerald Ford presented Owens with the nation’s highest civilian honor, the United States Medal of Freedom.

Gee cast his ballot on the opening day for the Historical Society’s “Legacy for Ohio” campaign. The public vote runs until June 12 and will play a large part in determining Ohio’s Legacy statue. Visit www.OhioHistory.org for voting information and site locations.

Join the Olympian Club!
A new fund-raising initiative created by head coach Robert Gary, the Ohio State ‘Olympian Club’ hopes to generate financial support for track and field/cross country projects that are beyond the budget but extremely valuable in enhancing the experiences of the program’s student-athletes.

Besides supporting the members of the 2010 Buckeye track and field/cross country teams both on and off the track, donations will afford the Buckeyes the opportunity to continue to operate in a first-class manner, while setting a new standard for Division I programs.

For information visit the men’s track and field home page at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.     

Indiana Hosting 2010 Big Ten Outdoor Championships
Indiana University will be the host site for the 2010 Big Ten Outdoor Championships; May 14-16 in Bloomington, Ind. Tickets will be available at the Robert C. Haugh Complex entrance the day of the event, $7.00 for adults and $5 for youth/students. Visit iuhoosiers.cstv.com for more information.

Last Time Out
The crowd at the Jesse Owens Track Classic last weekend was treated to a memorable two days of competition that produced a number of outstanding performances. A look at some of the highlights:

The most anticipated race of the weekend was the 400m dash final, which saw a tightly contested battle between Mississippi State freshman Tavaris Tate and Ohio State All-American Thomas Murdaugh. Tate, second nationally in the 400m this outdoor season, claimed the title in 45.26, third-fastest in Division I, while Murdaugh, the defending Big Ten champion, would finish second in a season-best time of 45.96, a Big Ten-best and Top 15 national time. 2010 NCAA indoor 400m runner-up Kirani James of Alabama was disqualified for a false start at the start of the race.

Mississippi State set the Jesse Owens Stadium record (3:05.70) in the 4x400m relay during a tightly contested race with Ohio State. The Bulldogs, who own the fifth-best 4×4 time in the nation this outdoor season, managed to pull away from the three-time defending Big Ten champion Buckeyes down the stretch. The Scarlet and Gray’s second-place time of 3:06.69, a season-best, is a Top 15 time nationally and the second-best in the Big Ten.

Adam Green captured the 3000m steeplechase title in a personal record time of 8:48.18, second-best in the Big Ten and a Top 20 Division I performance. Buckeyes Cory Leslie (fifth, 8:53.03), Christopher Olinger (11th, 9:02.58) and Donny Roys (16th, 9:07.93) all ran season-best times, with Leslie and Roys also posting PRs.

Chris Fallon used an impressive kick down the stretch to win the mile in 4:12.99. Virginia Tech’s Jared Berman finished second for the Hokies with a time of 4:13.31, while Donny Roys took third for OSU (4:14.80).

At the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif., senior All-American Jeff See took first-place in section two of the men’s 5000m run with a time of 13:44.49, the second-best time in Ohio State history, the top run in the seventh and Top 15 national performance. Daniel White took seventh in section two of the men’s 800m with a time of 1:49.84, a season-best run and the sixth-fastest in the Big Ten.

Up Next
The Buckeyes will return to Bloomington next weekend, May 14-16, for the 2010 Big Ten Outdoor Championships.