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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s track and field team returns to Columbus this Saturday and Sunday, April 23-24, as host of the 26th Jesse Owens Track Classic.

Like the classics of the past, the 2011 edition will serve as a stage for scholastic, collegiate and post-collegiate athletes to perform at their highest levels in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. In its history, the Jesse Owens Track Classic has served as a top venue for many future and former Olympians. Current and past record holders for the Jesse Owens Track Classic include Olympic medalists John Drummond, Michelle Finn, Allen Johnson, Edwin Moses, Dwight Stones and former Buckeyes Diane Dixon, Joe Greene and Butch Reynolds. Others of Olympic fame include Judi Brown, Roger Kingdom, Carl Lewis, Louise Ritter and Calvin Smith, as well as past OSU Olympians Mark Croghan and Stephanie Hightower.

Action Saturday evening begins with the discus and javelin at 6:00 p.m. ET, with running events slated for 8:00 p.m. Field events begin at 10:30 a.m. on Easter Sunday, followed by running events at noon. A complete recap will be available at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com at the conclusion of each day of competition.

Meet Quick Facts
Days: Saturday, April 23 (6:00 p.m. – 9:50 p.m.) and Sunday, April 24 (10:30 a.m. – 4:10 p.m.)
Venue: Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium
Live Results: www.finishtiming.com  
Television: Big Ten Network tape-delayed (Tom Werme, Rebecca Haarlow and Dionne Crawford on the call)
Admission: Free

Easter Sunday Promotions
Owens family honored – 11:45 a.m.
Kids 10 and under Easter egg hunt in the infield – 1:15 p.m.
Free t-shirt giveaway
Brutus, cheerleaders, and more!

Competing Teams
Kentucky
Penn State
Purdue
Michigan
Michigan State
Akron
Kent State
Miami (OH)
Ashland
Venezuelan National Team
Nike
Adidas
Saucony
Reebok
Indiana Invaders
Columbus Running Co.

Jesse Owens 75th Anniversary Celebration, April 21-24
The Ohio State University is proud to lead the celebration of Jesse Owens’ legacy on the 75th anniversary of his stellar performance in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany.

The Jesse Owens 75th Anniversary Celebration will take place April 21-24, in conjunction with Ohio State’s spring football game and the 26th Jesse Owens Track Classic. Through this celebration, the University will honor the memory of Jesse Owens and his trailblazing life that links us as Americans and inspires us to achieve greatness.

A scholarship dinner banquet April 21 in the new Ohio Union Archie Griffin Ballroom will gather nationally recognized speakers – including actor/comedian Bill Cosby – prominent corporate and community leaders, members of the Ohio State community and members of Owens’ beloved family. The event will be emceed by ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap, family friend and author of the book Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics. Tickets for the dinner – scheduled for 7:00 p.m. – are available for $125. To purchase tickets online, visit go.osu.edu/jesseowens. A PDF form is available for download that can be printed and mailed back to purchase tickets and sponsorships. All proceeds from the dinner will be used to support the Ruth and Jesse Owens Scholars Program and the Ohio State men’s and women’s track programs.

The University will also host a statue unveiling prior to the scholarship dinner on the 21st at 1:30 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. For more information on all events and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.osu.edu/jesseowens.  

Owens Exhibition at Thompson Library: April 12-May 2
The Ohio State University Archives has created a display of Jesse Owens’ artifacts, photographs, and documents that highlight each stage of the Olympian’s historic life: his youth in Cleveland, his relationship to OSU as a student and life-time Buckeye, his record as an Olympic athlete, and his service as an ambassador to the world. Students, faculty, staff, and the public are invited to come see the limited time exhibition – which includes artifacts such as Owens’ Olympic diary, his bronzed shoe from 1935, and his Congressional Gold Medal – at the William Oxley Thompson Library April 12-May 2.

The exhibition is located in the Thompson Library display area on the first floor outside the Gallery. The library is open Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.; Friday 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.; Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.; Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Buckeye Decathletes Set to Compete at Polytan Invitational Thursday
Former Big Ten champion Patrick Woods will compete along with three current Buckeyes Thursday April 21 and Friday April 22 at the Polytan Invitational in Bloomington, Ind.

Heath Nickles and freshmen Cody Kunze and J.B. Derosa will join Woods for Thursday-Friday competition in the decathlon from Indiana University. Recaps will be available at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com at the conclusion of each day of competition.

Buckeyes Check-in at No. 40 in USTFCCCA National Rankings, Third Regionally
The Ohio State men’s track and field team dropped one spot to No. 40 in the April 19 edition of U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s national team rankings.

In all, just three Big Ten teams are ranked among the national Top 50, led by 15th-ranked Minnesota. Penn State sits just outside the Top 25 at No. 28, followed by the Buckeyes. Florida is the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, with Texas A&M and Texas Tech rounding out the top 3. Future Big Ten member Nebraska is ranked 10th.

The Buckeyes fair better in the Great Lakes regional rankings, where they are currently ranked third behind Wisconsin and Indiana. Akron is ranked fourth, followed by Notre Dame.

OSU in the Individual Top 25 Rankings
Six members of the men’s track and field team find themselves ranked within the Top 25 in several event areas nationally. A look at where the Buckeyes sit:

Michael Hartfield – No. 5 in the long jump and No. 17 in the triple jump
Thomas Murdaugh – No. 11 in the 400m and No. 24 in the 4x400m relay
Korbin Smith – No. 14 in the long jump and No. 24 in the 4x400m relay
Matt DeChant – No. 19 in the shot put
Marvel Brooks – No. 24 in the 4x400m relay
Aaron Roberts – No. 24 in the 4x400m relay

Gary, Buckeyes Ink 12 Student-Athletes for 2011-2012
Ohio State track and field and cross country head coach Robert Gary announced the signing of 12 student-athletes for the 2011-2012 academic year March 23. Heavy on distance runners and hurdlers, the well-balanced class also features talented athletes in the jumps, throws and sprints.

“I absolutely believe Ohio is a top 5 overall state in the country for track and field and cross country recruiting,” Gary said of his 2011 recruiting class. “I think it is a great recipe if you can attract the best talent in Ohio and also find the developmental projects of recruits from Ohio who know what The Ohio State University is all about and already have a great love and sense of pride towards Buckeye Nation.”

In all, the Buckeyes will welcome 10 Ohio products and two accomplished out-of-state prospects to campus next fall, and coaches are hopeful that the team will add even more talent before the end of the signing period. Meet the future Buckeyes:

Michael Brajdic // Distance – Bay Village, Ohio – Bay Village
Antonio Blanks // Sprints/Hurdles – Dayton, Ohio – Dunbar
Josh Sabo // Mid-Distance – Richfield, Ohio – Revere
Curtis Hanle // Distance – Louisville, Ohio – Louisville
Jeff Hannaford // Distance – Westerville, Ohio – North
Brian Hannaford // Distance – Westerville, Ohio – North
Michael Bennett // Throws – Centerville, Ohio – Centerville
Derrick Anderson // Hurdles – Arlington, Texas – Mansfield Timberview
Brad Hess // Distance – Fort Wayne, Ind. – Carroll
Luke Norris // Hurdles – Lebanon, Ohio – Lebanon
Tyler Parrish // High Jump – Amherst, Ohio – Amherst Steele
Jc Murasky // Throws – Zanesville, Ohio – Maysville

Gary Named Assistant for Team USA at IAFF World Championships
Ohio State track and field and cross country head coach Robert Gary will represent the Buckeyes as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships, August 27 to September 4, in Daegu, South Korea.

Gary, in his fifth season as the track and field head coach and 14th leading the cross country team at Ohio State, will mentor the American distance runners under the direction of USA head coach Vin Lananna, Director of Track and Field at the University of Oregon.

In addition to his duties with Team USA at the track and field championships, Gary will also direct the American junior squad at the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships March 20 in Punta Umbria, Spain. Gary has previous experience as an assistant at the junior level, having served on the U.S. staff at the 2010 World Junior Track and Field Championships in Mochton, Canada. That experience will serve him well, as he looks to improve an American squad that finished in eighth-place as a team at the 2010 championships.

Join the Olympian Club!
A 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 Ohio State 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 more information, visit the men’s track and field home page at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.   

Follow the Buckeyes on Facebook!
The Ohio State men’s track and field team is now on Facebook. Visit www.facebook.com/OSUtrackXC to catch up on the latest Buckeye news and notes.
     
Head coach Robert Gary
Robert Gary, now in his fifth season as the head men’s track and field coach and 15th coaching the cross country team, has elevated both programs to new heights and has established himself as one of the nation’s elite coaches.

Gary’s teams constantly strive for top 3 finishes at the Big Ten championships in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field. And for the second time in three years, the Buckeyes did just that during the 2009-10 campaign. Gary led the cross country team to a second-place finish at the Big Ten championships as Jeff See took third overall among individuals. The Buckeyes went onto place third at the NCAA regional finals before taking 21st at the NCAA championships behind See’s All-America finish. On the track, Gary led the Buckeyes to a second-place finish at the Big Ten indoor championships and a third-place showing during the outdoor season. See (mile/1500m) and Matt DeChant (shot put) earned All-America honors during the indoor and outdoor seasons while Thomas Murdaugh earned All-America honors in the 400m during the indoor. In addition, the Buckeyes swept their rival Michigan in “The Dual” by winning both indoor and outdoor meets.

Coach Gary continues to train the best each year for the USA Track and Field championships and Olympic trials. In June 2010, he helped train Dan Huling, who took first place in the 3000m steeplechase at the 2010 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. In addition, Huling, along with former Buckeye greats Rob Myers (1500m), Brian Olinger (steeplechase) and See (1500m) trained under Gary while preparing for the 2008 Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore.

Gary ended a decorated running career in 2005. A two time member of Team USA at the 1996 and 2004 Olympics, Gary placed second in the men’s steeplechase at the 1996 Olympic Trials with a career-best time of 8:19.46. Eight years later, his third-place finish at the trials gained an automatic bid on the U.S. team headed to Athens, Greece for the 2004 Games.  Gary also earned honors as a cross country athlete, competing on a total of 11 U.S. national teams.

As a student-athlete at Ohio State from 1992-1995, Gary was a six-event All-American, winning the Big Ten outdoor 3000m steeplechase title in 1994, where he set the Ohio State and Big Ten record in the event. He was a three-time all-Big Ten selection and member of three Big Ten championship teams (1992 outdoor, 1993 indoor and outdoor).

A 2009 inductee into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame, Gary received a degree in English education from Ohio State in the fall of 1996.

Last Time Out
The Ohio State men’s track and field team used wins in 11 of 19 events to defeat archrival Michigan, 109-94, in “The Dual” April 17 at historic Ferry Field.

The Buckeyes battled temperatures in the low 40s and winds reaching 30 mph to capture their fourth-consecutive victory over the Wolverines. With the win, Ohio State now owns a 6-2 advantage over its rival since the inception of the dual meet in 2008.

Up Next
Ohio State is scheduled to compete at the Drake Relays and Peyton Jordan Invitational next Thursday-Sunday, April 28-May 1.