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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – No. 20 Ohio State finds itself in the hunt for its first Big Ten title in 17 years after an impressive day one at the 2010 Big Ten Indoor Championships Saturday at University Fieldhouse.

Led by All-Americans Jeff See and Thomas Murdaugh, the Buckeyes wrapped day one with a total score of 40.50, nine points behind defending champion and home-standing Minnesota (49.50) for first-place.

See won his third individual Big Ten title with a first-place finish in the 3000m championships in an NCAA provisional time of 8:06.46. Teammate Adam Green finished second in a personal record time of 8:09.07, while Patrick Sovacool was eighth in 8:13.83. In all, the Buckeyes earned a whopping 20 team points in the 3000m, nearly half their points on the day.

While Murdaugh did not compete in a final Saturday, he enjoyed an equally impressive day as See. The sophomore from Dublin claimed the top qualifying times in both the 400m and 200m dashes.

Murdaugh was dominant in the 400m preliminaries, shattering a 26-year old University Fieldhouse record with his time of 47.14. Korbin Smith surprised the field with a qualifying run of 48.63, the third-best on the day. Rob Baisden will join Murdaugh and Smith in Sunday’s final thanks to his time 48.99, the ninth-best preliminary run.

Buckeye sprinters posted the top three qualifying times in the 200m prelims, led by Murdaugh’s time of 21.70. Stephen Robinson was second in 21.77 and Curtis Leuenberger third.

Freshman Smith claimed third-place and six points in the long jump with a leap of 7.21m (23-8), his second-best mark this season. Teammate Steve MacDonald earned two points and a seventh-place finish at 7.01m (23 ft.), while Derek Blevins was ninth at 6.90m (22-7.75). Robert Peddlar of Michigan finished in first with a jump of 7.32m (24-0.25).

Tyler Branch and Matt DeChant finished back-to-back in the shot put. Branch’s fifth-place throw of 17.41m (57-1.50) was good for four team points, while DeChant’s sixth-place toss (17.39m/57-0.75) gave the Buckeyes three points. Minnesota senior Aaron Studt was first at 19.37m (63-6.75), an NCAA automatic qualifier.

Other news and notes:

  • Senior Jonathan Francois set a PR in the 60m hurdle prelims, qualifying fourth in 8.01. Illinois sophomore Andrew Riley leads the field with an NCAA provisional time of 7.87. The time by Francois is the third-best in school indoor history.
  • Daniel White qualified for the 800m finals with a time of 1:51.77, fifth-best on the day. Wisconsin’s Zach Mellon set a Field House record with his run of 1:50.18.
  • Robinson was the lone Buckeye qualifier in the 60m dash, finishing eighth in the prelims in a time of 6.89.
  • The distance medley team of White, Chad Balyo, Aaron Roberts and Cory Leslie claimed three points for Ohio State with a sixth-place finish in 9:53.31. Wisconsin won the relay with a time of 9:47.96.
  • Heath Nickles equaled a season-best in the pole vault, clearing the bar at 5.00m (16-4.75) for a sixth-place finish and 2.5 points for the Buckeyes.
  • Nickles is currently 14th in the heptathlon after four events with 2742 points. R.J. McGinnis leads the field (3285).

The heptathlon kicks off the final day of competition Sunday beginning at 11:20 a.m. ET.

Team Standings (Day One)
1. Minnesota – 49.50 points
2. Ohio State – 40.50
3. Purdue – 31
4. Michigan – 19
5. Wisconsin – 15
6. Penn State – 14
7. Indiana – 9
8. Iowa – 7
8. Michigan State – 7
10. Illinois – 3