May 30, 2017
Columbus, Ohio – The U.S. Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association released its final rankings on Tuesday before the NCAA Championships (June 7-10) commence next week in Eugene, Ore., and the Ohio State men’s track and field team has cracked the Top 25 for the first time during outdoors.
Ohio State earned 80.37 points in the final computer rankings to rank 25th. Coming into the NCAA East Preliminaries ranked No. 38, the Buckeyes had six individuals and two relays secure berths to the NCAA Championships with high-quality marks. The more qualifiers at the NCAA meet, the better chance a team has to rack up points, hence the 13-spot jump up in the rankings by the Buckeyes.
The Scarlet and Gray will be represented in Eugene by three seniors, three juniors, a sophomore and a freshman. 2016 First Team All-Americans Zack Bazile (long jump) and Nick Gray (200m dash/4x400m relay) are making the return trip to Oregon. They will be joined by first timers Deshawn Marshall, Nick Demaline (shot put), Duan Asemota (4x100m relay) and Asa Burke (4x400m relay). In addition to those six, Donovan Robertson (110m hurdles) and Champ Page (400m dash/4x400m relay) are headed west as well. Robertson is a two-time Honorable Mention All-American and Page is a two-time First Team All-American as a member of the 4x400m relay team.
Recaps of how each individual qualified this past weekend are listed below:
Donovan Robertson – 110m Hurdles
The first and most deserving Buckeye on Saturday to clinch his berth to the final site in Oregon was the redshirt senior Robertson. Running in the third of three heats in the 110m hurdles, Robertson needed to place inside the Top 3 of his heat to earn an automatic bid, but the third heat turned out to be the fastest and he placed fourth. The good news though was his time of 13.85 was fast enough to secure one of the last three at-large bids. Robertson will be returning to Eugene for the third time in his career.
Nick Demaline – Shot Put
Demaline had arguably the best performance of any thrower at the meet on Friday when he launched a tremendous personal best heave of 20.15m (66-1.50) in the shot put to claim the top spot at the East Preliminary; the mark of 20.15m ranks No. 4 in program history. To put the throw in perspective, Demaline added a whopping 16-plus inches to his prior best, which is a very large improvement. Of the 96 athletes across the nation trying to earn a berth at the NCAA Championships in the shot put, Demaline’s mark was the third-farthest of the qualifying round.
Zack Bazile – Long Jump
Jumping in the fourth of four flights on Thursday, Bazile was the 46th jumper in a field of 48 athletes to enter the sand pit, and he did so with a starting bound of 7.43m (24-4.50), one that he knew he would have to improve upon if he wanted to advance. The 2016 First Team All-American in the long jump returned for his second jump and glided 7.86m (25-9.50) through the air for the third-longest leap of the competition to easily secure his trip to Eugene, Ore., for the NCAA Championships.
Bazile has been on a tear as of late as he enters the most important part of the season. Just two weeks ago at the B1G Championships, the junior racked up 18 points for the Buckeyes combining for a pair of silver finishes in the long and triple jump.
Nick Gray & Deshawn Marshall – 200m Dash
The dynamic sprinting duo of Marshall and Gray sprinted around half the track in record-breaking fashion Saturday evening. Marshall ran in the fastest heat of the night and placed fourth, but his time of 20.32 in the 200m dash was quick enough to collect one of the three remaining at-large spots. Gray saved his magic for the final heat of the evening and clocked a time of 20.38 to place third in his section to pick up the auto-bid. Both Marshall’s and Gray’s times are Top 5 in program history with Marshall’s ranking No. 3 and Gray’s settling in at fifth on the list.
Champ Page – 400m Dash
Page registered a personal best of 45.54 to improve to the school’s fifth-fastest quarter miler ever. Page took third in his heat and his time was the seventh fastest of the 12 qualifiers. For Page, it is the first time in his career that he has qualified for the NCAA Championships as an individual. Page has been named an All-American three times during his career as a member of the 4x400m relay.
To start off Saturday, the 4x100m relay of James Clark, Gray, Duan Asemota and Marshall moved the baton around the track in spectacular fashion clocking a readout of 39.01, the second-fastest time in program history to claim their bid. The foursome of Asa Burke, Gray, Marshall and Champ Page closed out the evening with the fifth-fastest 4x400m relay in program history to place first in their heat with a time of 3:03.51 to move on.