Sept. 22, 2004
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross country teams travel to Minneapolis, Minn., Saturday to compete in the 2004 Roy Griak Invitational. The University of Minnesota will play host to the event at the Les Bolstad Golf Course, home of the Minnesota Golden Golphers golf and cross country teams. The venue features several rolling hills and will be run entirely on grass. The men’s race will begin the event as they compete in the 8-kilometer race at 11:20 a.m. Following the men’s race the women will compete in the 5-kilometer race at 12:10 p.m. Competing along with the Buckeyes will be Arkansas, Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Belmont, Butler, California, Colorado State, Columbia, Duke, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, James Madison, Kansas, Kent State, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, Princeton, Providence, South Dakota State, Southern Utah, Texas Tech, Utah State, UC Santa Barbara, Vanderbilt, Wartburg, Washington State, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
SCOUTING THE GRIAK Following a weekend that saw the Ohio State men’s and women’s cross country teams open its 2004 campaign, the Buckeyes travel to the 19th annual Roy Griak Inivitational. The event serves as one of the largest cross country meets in the country with over 300 teams and 3,000 runners competing in the event.
LAST TIME OUT The Ohio State cross country team competed in the Lou Onesty Invitational in Charlottesville, Va., Sept. 18th. Both men’s and women’s squads posted strong performances with the men finishing second and the women placing sixth. Virginia claimed the women’s event, while William and Mary captured the men’s title. The Buckeyes were led by Brian Olinger, who placed second in the men’s 8-kilometer run with a time of 24:44.7. John Ealy posted a solid performance with a time of 25:28.60 for sixth-place. The women were paced by Melanie Price, who placed 17th in the 5-kilometer run with a time of 19:20.70.
KEEPING PACE WITH THE BUCKEYES
Brian Olinger– opened the season with a second-place finish at the 2004 Lou Onesty Invitational … finished the event, just three seconds behind individual champion Josh McDougal in a time of 24:44.70.
John Ealy– was one of three Buckeyes to finish in the Top 10 at the Lou Onesty Invitational … finished sixth in a time of 25:28.6.
Glenn Collins– posted his best time of his collegiate career Sept. 18th at the Lou Onesty Invitational … during the event, Collins finished 10th in a time of 25:44.1.
Melanie Price-paced the women’s squad as she finished 17th in a time of 19:20.7 … Price’s time in the event, was her best mark since coming to Ohio State.
Chelsea Poling-finished just two seconds behind teammate Melanie Price in 19th-place posting a time of 19:24.5.
WHO TO WATCH ON THE MEN’S SIDE The loss of former co-captains Sjaan Gerth and Rob Myers certainly will make it tough on the Buckeyes, however head coach RobertGary feels confident that the 2004 edition of the Ohio State men’s cross country team will be able to reload like several of his teams have done in the past. This season, Gary will look to junior Brian Olinger who Gary believes has the ability to challenge for one of the top spots in the Big Ten and has the potential to finish in the Top 15 at the NCAA championships. Olinger enters the season winning the 5,000-meter run at the 2004 Big Ten Track and Field Championships. Olinger also finished the 2004 track season by qualifying for the 2004 Mideast Regional as he competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The Buckeyes also return Aaron Fisher and Dan Glaz. This past track season, Fisher, boasted the best time in the country in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, while Glaz returns to the team after posting a 12th finish at the 2003 Big Ten Cross Country Championships. Gary also feels confident that freshmen Braden Martinez, Matt Buzek and John Ealy are all capable of making an immediate impact at the start of the 2004 season.
WHO TO WATCH ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE With everyone returning to the team from a year ago with the exception of Lyndsi Gay, Myers will turn to senior Robyn Detty, junior Chelsea Poling and sophomore Nicole Gliem to lead the team. All four individuals competed on the team last season when the squad posted their best finish at the Big Ten championships since 1993. Myers feels that Poling could consistently be the Buckeyes top individual this season. Last season, Poling finished 18th at the 2003 Big Ten Championships and just missed earning all-conference honors for the first time in her career. “Chelsea has really began to take some excellent strides in becoming a great runner,” Myers said. Although Poling could prove to be the top women’s runner through a majority of the upcoming season, Detty also is a candidate that could push for the No. 1 spot as well. Last season, Detty was one of the most consistent runners on the team as she finished in the Top 15 five times. Gliem also could be poised for a breakout season this fall after posting an impressive track season that saw her qualify for the 2004 Mideast Regional in the 5,000-meter-run.
2003 SEASON IN REVIEW The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross-country teams both sported impressive seasons in 2003. The men’s team once again made tremendous strides in establishing itself as one of the top teams in the country as they qualified for the NCAA championships for the third time in four years under the direction of seventh-year head coach Robert Gary. The men also held down a No. 7 ranking in the NCAA Mondo Cross Country Poll for much of the 2003 season. The Buckeyes’ No. 7 ranking was the highest such ranking of any Ohio State cross country team. Ohio State was led by senior Rob Myers who earned First Team All-Big Ten accolades. The women’s team, under the direction of second-year head coach Chad Myers guided the Buckeyes to two first-place finishes and an eighth-place finish at the 2004 Big Ten Championships. The Buckeyes highlighted the season at the 2004 All-Ohio Invitational where they finished second among some of the top teams in the state. The women were led by senior Lyndsi Gay as she finished the season with four Top 10 finishes.
MEET Robert Gary A seasoned veteran in both cross country and track and field, head cross country coach Robert Gary is not only recognized as an accomplished athlete, but he also has established himself as one of the elite coaches in the Big Ten Conference. Now in his eighth season as Ohio State men’s cross country coach, Gary has taken the Buckeyes to new heights. During his tenure, Gary has guided the Buckeyes to the NCAA Championships three times in the last four years and was named Ohio Cross Country Coach of the Year for the fourth consecutive year. What sets Gary apart from other coaches is his innate ability to pass along his competitive drive and strong work ethic. While at Ohio State, Gary has coached four Ohio cross country runners of the year, numerous All-Big Ten selections and two All-Americans. Gary also thrives at coaching his athletes on the track. As men’s distance coach for the track and field team, Gary has coached 10 All-Americans, 13 Big Ten champions including Rob Myers, who recently finished fourth at the 2004 United States Olympic Team Trails. Gary also has coached one Big Ten freshman of the year, two U.S. junior team members, one U.S. junior champion in the 10,000-meter run and he has coached a Big Ten champion in every distance event. Academics also play a major role in Gary’s strategy, as he has coached two academic All-America teams (GPA over 3.0) and four academic All-America teams with distinction, while having two of his athletes nominated for the Big Ten Medal of Honor. As an athlete, Gary qualified for his second Olympic team at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in Sacramento, Calif., while competing in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Gary also represented the United States in Atlanta as a member of the 1996 Olympic team in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. In the Olympic trials, he captured second place behind training partner and fellow Buckeye alum Mark Croghan. Gary recorded the eighth fastest time ever by an American in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. He is currently running for Adidas International. Earlier in 2004, Gary was the top American finisher at the 2004 World Cross Country Championships, where he finished 33rd in a time of 12:12.0. While competing at Ohio State Gary etched his name into the record books as one of the all-time greats. Gary’s resume while at Ohio State includes All-America honors on six different occasions: cross country (1994-95), indoor track (3,000-meter run, 1995-96) and outdoor track (3,000 meter steeplechase, 1994-95). He remains the school record holder in the 3,000-meter run (indoor) with a time of 7:52.63, which broke the Big Ten record set by Indiana’s Bob Kennedy. Gary seized the Big Ten Championship in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 1994 and He served as captain of the cross country team his junior and senior seasons. Gary received a degree in English education from OSU in the fall of 1996. He is a 1991 graduate of Evanston (Ill.) Township High School, where he was the state champion in the two-mile and earned all-state honors in soccer.
MEET Chad Myers The 2004 cross country season marks the third year at Ohio State for Chad Myers as coach of the women’s cross country team. In his first year, Myers spent the 2002 season assisting head cross country coach Robert Gary in taking the men’s and women’s cross country programs to new heights. Last season, Myers continued to mold the women’s program into one of the top programs in the conference as he directed the Buckeyes to their best finish in the Big Ten since 1993. Ohio State also finished in first place on two different occasions during the 2003 season, while displaying an impressive second-place finish at the 2003 All-Ohio Invitational. The addition of Myers in the fall of 2002 marked the beginning of Myers’ rebuilding phase for the women’s team, the squad Myers spent the most of his time with during the fall season. Under Myers’ guidance, the Ohio State women’s cross country team finished first at the Cincinnati Invitational and Notre Dame Invitational, while compiling a record of 45-19. Cross country is not the only thing that has been on Myers’ mind. Since his arrival at Ohio State, seven of his runners have earned Academic All-Big Ten in his two years at the helm. Prior to volunteering at Ohio State, Myers served three years as an assistant coach for the boys cross country team at Fairfield (Ohio) Union High School. He also served as the head distance coach for the boys track team. During his tenure at Fairfield, Myers led the boys track and field program to two Top-10 finishes, two district championships and took the cross country program to several district and regional championships as well as two Top-12 finishes at the state meet. As a competitor, Myers attended Otterbein College where served as captain of the cross country team from 1993-95. In 1994-95, Myers qualified for the national cross country meet and captured conference championship honors in the 10,000-meter run in 1996. Myers also was the All-Ohio 10,000-meter champion in 1994. In 1996, Myers was named the outstanding senior athlete for Otterbein College. While at Otterbein College, Myers received his undergraduate degree in computer graphics/communications from Otterbein College in 1996. He received his associates degree in sports and fitness management at Columbus State University in 2001, graduating with honors. Myers also is a USA track and field level I certified coach.
UP NEXT The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross country teams return to Ohio to compete in the 2004 All-Ohio Championships in Delaware, Ohio. Ohio Wesleyan will play host to the event.