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COLUMBUS, Ohio – With just over a week remaining until the start of championship season, the Ohio State men’s track and field team returns to French Field House Feb. 19 for the Buckeye Tune-up.

Friday’s invitational will be the last chance for the Buckeyes to compete in a meet setting prior to next weekend’s Big Ten indoor championships at Minnesota. The invite offers a unique opportunity for Buckeye veterans to fine tune their respective fields heading into the conference meet, while also allowing less experience athletes a chance to compete in front of the hometown crowd.

Several area squads, including Capital, Ohio Wesleyan and Wabash will join the Buckeyes inside French Field House Friday. The meet gets underway at 4 p.m. ET with competition in the weight throw – the 60m hurdles will kick off the running events at around 5 p.m. Live stats are available at www.FinishTiming.com, and a complete recap of day’s action will be posted at the conclusion of the meet at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.  

French Field House Upgrades
Friday’s meet at French Field House will be the second indoor meet hosted by the Buckeyes this season. The 54-year old facility is fresh-off a $1.3 million renovation project that was completed in October 2009, aimed at making the meet day experience for both fans and athletes better. Renovations include:

  • An all-new 200-meter state-of-the-art track and indoor field competition surface
  • Brand new bleachers along the south side with a capacity of 800
  • New long jump/triple jump pits
  • Permanent throws area
  • Re-painting of interior roof, steel beams and walls

French Field House was first completed in 1956 at a cost of just over $1 million. The facility is used primarily for the track and field teams, but is also used as a practice and multi-purpose facility for other sports and special events.

Buckeyes Crack USTFCCCA Top 25, Remain No. 1 in Great Lakes Regional Rankings
The Ohio State men’s track and field team is ranked No. 24 in the Feb. 16 edition of the NCAA Division I National Team Rankings by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, the first Top 25 appearance for the Buckeyes this season.

The Scarlet and Gray moved up three places in the rankings after a solid weekend at both the Akron Invitational and Grand Valley State Big Meet. Jeff See and Patrick Sovacool’s efforts in the 3000m invitational at GVSU and Jake Edward’s performance in the 5000m in Akron provided the crucial points that catapulted OSU into the Top 25.

With a total of 41.86 points, Ohio State is one of four Big Ten teams featured in the national poll. The conference banner is carried by No.7 Indiana, with No. 11 Penn State, 17th-ranked Minnesota and the Buckeyes also representing the league.

Ohio State remains No. 1 in the Great Lakes Regional Rankings for the third consecutive week. With a total of 396.90 points, the Buckeyes have the fourth-highest team score in the nation. 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. Wisconsin is the second-ranked team in the Great Lakes with a score of 361.79, followed by Indiana, Akron and Michigan.

OSU Posts Five Top 15 Times Nationally
While the Buckeyes move up the polls as a team, three individuals (and a relay team) find themselves ranked within the Top 15 in several event areas. A look at where members of the men’s track and field team sit:

  • Jeff See – No. 7 in the mile (3:58.82), No. 14 in the 3000m (7:57.14)
  • Daniel White – No. 7 in the 800m (1:48.26)
  • Thomas Murdaugh – seventh in the 400m (46.43)
  • 4x400m relay (Woodard, Simms, Robinson, Murdaugh) – No. 14 (3:08.22)

Scarlet and Gray Head to Minnesota for Big Ten Championships Next Weekend
The University of Minnesota hosts the 2010 Big Ten Men’s Indoor Track & Field Championships Feb. 27-28 at University Field House in Minneapolis.  All-session tickets, priced at just $12 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, may be purchased by calling the University of Minnesota ticket office at 1-800-U-GOPHER.

Last Time Out
The Ohio State men’s track and field team competed at both the Akron Invitational and Grand Valley State Big Meet last Friday and Saturday, Feb. 12-13.

Jeff See and Patrick Sovacool represented the Buckeyes well in the 3000m at GVSU. See used an NCAA provisional time of 7:57.14 – the third-best in school indoor history and the fifth-best in the NCAA this season – to finish second. Sovacool ran right with See, finishing third in 8:01.78, the sixth-best in school history and a Top 15 time nationally.

Cory Leslie finished fourth for the Scarlet and Gray in the mile at GVSU with an NCAA provisional run of 4:03.47, followed by Chad Balyo (fifth, 4:03.78).

In Akron, the Buckeyes were led by Korbin Smith. The freshman claimed titles in both the 400m dash (48.48) and long jumps (7.22m/23-8.25). Smith’s time in the 400m was a personal record and is the seventh-best in the Big Ten this season.

Ohio State volunteer assistant coach Patrick Woods won the heptathlon with a score of 5489, compiling Top 5 finishes in all but one of the seven events. Redshirt freshman Heath Nickles – who sat in 12th-place at the end of day one – fought his way to a fourth-place finish with 5107 points, the seventh-best total in the Big Ten this season.

Jake Edwards and Adam Green swept the Top 2 spots in the 5000m, with Edwards taking the title in a personal record time of 14:13.10, the second-best run in the Big Ten this season. Green’s second-place finish (14:19.10) was also a PR.

Two Buckeyes finished in the Top 5 of the 200m dash – senior Stephen Robinson finished fourth with a season-best time of 21.62, the sixth-best in the Big Ten in 2010. Robinson was followed by Thomas Murdaugh, who finished in a season-best time of 21.67, eighth-best in the conference.

Up Next
Ohio State travels to University Park, Pa. for the 2010 Big Ten Indoor Championships, Feb. 27-28 on the campus of Penn State University.