COLUMBUS, Ohio This weekend the Ohio State track and field program will host one of the premier meets in the country with the 23rd Annual Jesse Owens Track Classic May 2-3 at OSU’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
The event starts this Friday at 7:30 p.m. with the men’s followed by the women’s discus throw. High School events of the Classic will take place on Saturday between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. College/professional events on Saturday start at 3:30 p.m. with the men’s and women’s long jump. Admission is free.
This year’s field will feature many of the top high school, collegiate and professional athletes in the country. The following is a preview of some of the men’s collegiate action this weekend at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Men’s 100-meter dash
Big Ten leader and All-American Adam Harris of Michigan is the headliner, but Anthony Cole of Ohio State and a host of others will be nipping at his heels in a competitive field. Harris is the reigning Big Ten indoor champ in both the 60m and the long jump while Cole is currently second in the Big Ten in the 100m and was the 2007 Big Ten indoor champ in the 200m before finishing second in 2008. Ohio State’s Chimdi Chekwa, a defensive back on the football team, will make his debut as an individual for the Ohio State track and field team after competing in the 4×400 at the Drake Relays. Shane Crawford, who was the 2007 Indiana High School State Champion in the 100m, rounds out the favorites.
Men’s 200-meter dash
Harris and Cole will go at each other in this event as well. Former Ohio State sprinter Todd Dutch will also be in the field along with Indiana running back Marcus Thigpen and Kiwan Lawson of Indiana, who holds the fourth-best time in the conference this season. Also competing will be Jh’Rome Tuggle of Purdue, the 2008 Big Ten indoor champion in the 200m.
Men’s 400-meter dash
This event will feature three of the Top 5 sprinters in the Big Ten this season. Stann Waithe of Michigan, a 2007 NCAA Outdoor qualifier, holds the top time with teammate Andrew Wechter close on his heels. Matt Comer of Ohio State currently holds the fifth-best time in the conference (47.25), finished third at the 2008 Big Ten Indoor Championships and is a member of the 2008 Big Ten indoor champion 4x400m relay team. Michigan State’s Jeremy Orr, a 2007 NCAA outdoor qualifier, rounds out the field.
Men’s 800-meter run
This field will be one of the best in the country. All-American Jeff See of Ohio State holds the school record in the outdoor mile and is the two-time defending Big Ten mile champion. Former Buckeye Rob Myers of Reebok won the USA indoor championships at 1,500-meters and also holds the OSU indoor mile record. He was the No. 5 ranked American last year in the 1,500 where he already has the Olympic A standard. Mark Miller of Penn State also is a member of the field and currently leaders the Big Ten. His teammate, Samuel Borchers is the 2007 Ohio High School State Champion in the 800m and is currently ranked third in the conference.
Men’s 1,500-meter run
Both See, who is very much looking for an Olympic Games standard this weekend, and Myers return to compete in this event. Sean McNamara of Michigan will also compete and holds an NCAA regional qualifying time. His teammate Justin Switzer is the 2007 Big Ten Outdoor champion in the 1,500m.
Men’s Mile run
Ohio State’s Brian Olinger will compete in this field. He holds the 10,000-meter OSU record and was an All-American. Chad Balyo is one of the top young milers in the Big Ten and will also compete. He holds a personal-best of 4:04 in the mile.
Men’s 5,000-meter run
This race will feature Dan Hulling of Reebok, who currently holds the 12th-best time by American this year in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Men’s 110-meter hurdles
Former Buckeye Joel Brown will compete in this event and currently holds the 10th-best time by an American this year. Ron Jules of Penn State currently holds the second-best time in the Big Ten and is also in the field. Also competing is Josh Hembrough of Purdue who is the 2007 Michigan High School State Champion, the 2008 Big Ten Indoor champion in 60m hurdles and an NCAA indoor qualifier.
Men’s 400-meter hurdles
Three of the Top 5 athletes in the Big Ten in this event will compete at the Classic this weekend. Dan Harmsen of Michigan holds the second-best time, with Elon Simms of Ohio State right behind him in third. Simms is the 2007 Big Ten Outdoor runner-up and a member of the Big Ten indoor championship 4x400m relay team. Ryan Smith of Indiana currently holds the fifth-best time in the conference.
Men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase
Olinger, who was ranked No. 4 in 2007, returns to compete in this event that earned him All-American honors in 2006. He has the Olympic Games A standard (one of four Americans currently) and was a member of 2004 Ohio State team that finished fourth at the NCAA Championships. Josh McAdams of New Balance currently holds the fourth-best time in the world this year by an American. He was ranked No. 1 in U.S. for 2007 and also has the Olympic Games A standard. Adam Green is the top OSU athlete in the event this season. Brian Olinger’s younger brother Christopher Olinger will compete in this event with his older brother. Rounding out a very strong field is Solomon Kandie (third at Jesse Owens last year 8:27 PR), Jordan Fife (recently placed second at Mt. Sac Relays with a PR 8:36), Cory Norwitzke (2007 NCAA runner-up), Jordan Desiliets (2004 NCAA Champion) and Clint Wells, who finished fifth at the 2000 Trials 8:23.
Men’s 4×100-meter relay
This event features the Top 3 teams in the Big Ten this season and Indiana will try to hold off second-place Michigan and third-place Ohio State. Indiana currently leads the Big Ten Conference with a time of 40.3. Football players Marcus Thigpen of Indiana and Chimdi Chekwa of Ohio State both run the anchor legs of their respective teams.
Men’s 4×400-meter relay
The two teams that hold the best times are Michigan, who leads the Big Ten, and Ohio State, who holds the fourth-best time in the conference and claimed the Big Ten title during the indoor season.
Men’s High Jump
Purdue jumpers Adetayo Adesanya, the Big Ten leader, and Lance Moe, second in the Big Ten, are atop the field. Kris Amos of Michigan State and Ryan Blake of Ohio State are tied for fourth-best jumps in the conference.
Men’s Pole Vault
Purdue also leads the way in this event as well Eric Sparks and Ben Pax, second and third, respectively, in the Big Ten. They will both be chasing conference leader Jeffery Coover of Indiana.
Men’s Long Jump
This is a very deep field four of the Top 5 athletes in the event in the conference in action with weekend. It features Nolan Petties and Eric Sparks of Purdue, Adam Harris of Michigan, the 2008 Big Ten Indoor champions, and Kyle Jenkins of Indiana. Jenkins also leads the conference in the triple jump.
Men’s Shot Put
This event is loaded with NCAA regionally qualified athletes. Billy Hardcastle and Tyler Miller of Purdue, who hold the fourth and fifth-best tosses in the conference, will try to top Patrick Whalen of Ohio State, who holds the third-best mark in the Big Ten this season. The SEC will bring some of their finest athletes to the circle, led by Rashaud Scott who several times broke the 60’ barrier this year. To round off this field of great athletes, Steve Manz who is looking to break the 21 meter barrier and give himself a shot to make the 2008 Olympic Team.
Men’s Hammer Throw
This event will feature several world class hammer throwers. Two of which were not only the best in the country, but two of the best in the world: AG Kruger and Kibwe Johnson both who are looking to break the 80m mark this season. The event also features athletes with the Top 5 marks in the Big Ten this season. Ben Harpenau of Purdue and Dave Ebersole of Ohio State will compete to for the top spots heading into the Big Ten Championships. It may take a throw of over 5 meters above the NCAA qualifying mark to make this final. (55.60M NCAA Regional mark)
Men’s Javelin Throw
From the MAC conference we have two solid throwers from Akron Daniel Kinsey and Tyler Sweet. Both have broken the 60 meter mark this year and look to do it again this weekend. The Big Ten will be well represented in this event as four of the top five throwers in the conference will compete. Tanner Evak of Penn State leads the conference and will be chased by Bryan Bunnell of Ohio State and Jim Schwingendorf of Purdue. They hold the fourth and fifth-best tosses in the conference, respectively. All of these athletes have thrown well past the 60 meter mark and competing for the JO title.