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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s track and field team heads to Des Moines, Iowa, this weekend for the 99th running of the Drake Relays on the campus of Drake University.

99TH ANNUNAL DRAKE RELAYS
Days: Friday, April 25, 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 26, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST
Venue: Drake Stadium
Meet Information: www.drakerelays.org

IT’S HAMMER TIME!
Senior David Ebersole is currently ranked in the Top 20 in the country and second in the Big Ten in the hammer throw after his toss at the Sea Ray Relays. Ebersole hit a mark of 208 feet, 7 inches in Knoxville. Only two-time national champion Dan Taylor has better throws in Ohio State history. The mark also is an NCAA regional qualifying mark. 

Ebersole competed in his first meet of the season at “The Dual.” Ebersole took first with a toss of 206 feet, 4 inches to top the field by 9 feet, 1 inch. The toss was a career-best for the Cleveland, Ohio native and was the first time that he surpassed 200 feet in his career. Ebersole continues to make his last year at Ohio State his best as he made his first trip to the NCAA championships during the indoor season. Ebersole is looking to become the first Buckeye since Taylor to earn All-American honors in the hammer throw. 

A WHALE OF A START
Junior Patrick Whalen currently holds the 10th-best toss in the country this season with his heave at “The Dual” April 5. The toss of 59 feet, 7 inches is an NCAA Regional Qualifying mark and a career-best outdoors for the West Dundee, Ill., native. The toss is fourth in the Mideast Region and second among non-seniors in the region.

HERE COMES THE “COLE TRAIN”
Senior sprinter Anthony Cole continues his hot start to the outdoor season. Cole put up a time of 10.28 in the 100-meter dash at the Sea Ray Relays, which would have been one of the Top 10 times in the country and one of Top 3 in Ohio State history. However after his heat the wind gage was over 4.0, thus making the time ineligible for the record books and not accepted as an NCAA regional qualifying time. Cole currently holds Top 3 mark in both the 100m and 200m in the Big Ten this season. Cole shot out of the blocks to start the 2008 outdoor season with a time of 21.22 in the 200-meter dash at “The Dual.”

Cole has built on the momentum he amassed in the indoor season heading to the NCAA championships in the 200-meter dash for the second-consecutive season. Cole also earned All-Big Ten honors in the 200-meter dash for the second-consecutive season. Cole has truly lived up to his 2004 honor of Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

FRESHMEN GOING THE DISTANCE
Several freshmen on the distance team have started to make a name for themselves in the Big Ten this season. Adam Green, from Franklin Central High School, is currently ranked third in the Big Ten in the 3,000-meter steeplechase — an event that he is running for the first time with the Buckeyes. After a tough start to the outdoor season, including a fall in “The Dual”, Green hit a season-best time of 9:10.10 in the Sun Angel Track Classic to win the event. Skyler Schmitt (31:37.69) and D.J. Hanigoshy (32:15.97) are both ranked in the Top 5 in the Big Ten in the 10,000-meter run. Both earned their times last week at the All-Ohio Championships.

LAST YEAR AT THE DRAKE RELAYS
Friday
– In relay events, the 4×400-meter team of Matt Comer, Elon Simms, Stephen Robinson and Gerald Griffin took ninth in a season-best time of 3:09.31. Unfortunately, the ninth-place finish was one shy of reaching the finals Saturday. The mark does serve as a qualifier for the 2007 NCAA Mideast Regional meet.

The 4×100-meter relay team featured track debuts for Buckeye football players Dan Potokar, Malcolm Jenkins, an All-Big Ten defensive back, and Chimdi Chekwa, who joined All-Big Ten sprinter Anthony Cole to post a time of 41.57, taking 13th in the prelims. Potokar is a sophomore wide receiver and Chekwa is a freshman defensive back.

Individually, Cole ran a 10.9 in the 100m prelims and missed qualifying for the final with a 24th-place finish. In the field, thrower Lenny Jatsek placed 20th in the shot put at a distance of 52 feet.

Saturday – In the throws, Patrick Whalen reached 56-8 3/4 for eighth place in the shot put special section. His mark served as a regional qualifier. Earlier in the day, Whalen (163-0) and Lenny Jatsek (161-2) went 15th and 16th in the discus.

On the track, senior Glenn Collins paced a 9:09.84 to take sixth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Sophomore Matt Comer clocked 51.89 to take 12th in the 400-meter hurdles, ahead of classmate Elon Simms and his 26th-place time of 53.93. Comer’s mark is a regional qualifier. Senior Joe Gourley also assured himself a trip to the regional meet with a fifth-place time of 1:49.71 in the 800m.

“SEE”ING IS BELEVIEING
Junior Jeff See made his return to outdoor track and field against Michigan in “The Dual” with an excellent double. See won both the 800-meter run and the 1,500-meter run in dominating fashion. See posted the top time in the Big Ten this season in the 1,500m with a mark of 3:49.26. With a time of 1:51.33 in the 800m, See now holds the third-best time in the conference in the event. See is the only member of the Big Ten in the Top 3 in both events.

See won the third Big Ten title of his career during the indoor season as he defended his mile title. See has earned the Big Ten crown the last two seasons in the indoor mile and he also has a league title in the distance medley relay, which he won in 2006 as a freshman.

See became the first Ohio State miler to earn All-American honors since Rob Meyers in 2003 at the NCAA indoor championships. See took seventh in the NCAA mile final with a time of 4:05.75. See earned a spot in the final with a time of 4:06.10 in the prelims inside Tyson Fieldhouse. Among non-seniors, See was fourth and looks to carry this momentum into the outdoor season. While redshirting the outdoor season in 2007, See set the school record in the outdoor mile with a time of 3:58.70.

LAST WEEK
Friday – Skyler Schmitt (31:37.69) took fourth in the 10,000-meters to score 5 points for the team and Donald Hanigosky (32:15.97) took seventh, grabbing 2 points for the Buckeyes. Chad Balyo took fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:19.57.

In field events Kyle Burns took third in the pole vault with a leap of 16 feet inches. Bryan Chard (16-0 3/4)  and Anthony Amore (15-1) finished sixth and eighth, respectfully. Patrick Whalen took third in the discus toss with a mark of 166 feet, 6 inches and Lenny Jatsek finished sixth with a heavy of 160-3.

Saturday – Ohio State took home first place with 179 points at the All-Ohio Championships last weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Anthony Cole won the 100-meter dash in a time of 10.50 and took third in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.49.  The 200m was dominated by the Buckeyes with Stephen Robinson (21.79) and Curtis Leuenbrerger (21.82) finishing sixth and seventh, respectively. Matt Comer finished second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 47.42. Jonathan Francois won the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.59. In distance events Adam Green won the 5,000-meter run with a time of 14:38.01.

“I was very pleased with how we competed as a group,” Ohio State head coach Robert Gary said. “This is a special group of guys who, when they rally together, is a very tough and talented team. We got beat pretty soundly last year and it shows the culture of our program is really improving when we can win a pretty competitive meet without doubling all of our guys and running some off events. The team and I are very excited to put our best foot forward with Drake Relays and then focus on individual events at the Jesse Owens Track Classic.”

For the third week in a row David Ebersole went over 200 feet in the hammer throw. Ebersole took third with a toss of 202 feet, 9 inches.

WELCOME TO COLUMBUS
Sophomore Curtis Leuenberger is making a name for himself as a Buckeye. Leuenberger transferred to Ohio State from Ohio University and already has a Big Ten title to his name. Leuenberger combined with juniors Elon Simms and Matt Comer and sophomore Stephen Robinson to win the Big Ten indoor title in the 4×400-meter relay. The Louisville, Ohio native specializes in the 200-meter dash and opened the season with a win in the event at the Southern Cup Invitational.

JATSEKS: AN ALL-AMERICAN FAMILY
Lenny and Veronica Jatsek earned All-American honors as a family in the 2008 indoor track season. Veronica took fifth at the NCAA championships and Lenny took 10th, becoming the first Ohio State brother sister sibling pair to earn All-American honors in the same year in the same sport. For both, it was the second time in their career they had received All-American honors in the weight throw.  

A year after her brother, Lenny Jatsek, captured All-America honors by finishing 13th in the weight throw at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championship meet, Veronica Jatsek added another national award to the family. Veronica, competing in her first NCAA championships, placed seventh in the weight throw last season to earn her first All-America honor at a distance of 66-9 3/4.

CLOSING THE BOOK ON THE INDOOR SEASON
Ohio State posted another solid indoor season under second-year head coach Robert Gary. The Buckeyes finished third at the Big Ten Championships and colleted Big Ten titles in the mile (junior Jeff See) and in the 4×400-meter relay (junior Matt Comer, senior Curtis Leuenberger, junior Elon Simms and sophomore Stephen Robinson). See and senior Lenny Jatsek continued to the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships, earning All-American honors: See in the mile and Jatsek in the weight throw. 

The third-place finish by the team marks the second time in the last 10 championships that the Buckeyes have finished in the Top 3 at indoors. The third-place finish is the best for the Buckeyes since finishing third in 2001. With the cross country team’s third-place finish at Big Ten’s this season, it marks the first time since the 1928-29 season that both the indoor track team and the cross country team have been in the Top 3 at their respective conference meets in the same season.  

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes will host their second meet of the season next week as they come back to Columbus, Ohio for the Jesse Owens Track Classic.