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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s track and field team opens the outdoor season with the Hurricane Challenge this Saturday at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. 

HURRICANE CHALLENGE
Days: Saturday, March 29, 12 p.m. 7:20 p.m.
Venue: Cobb Track and Field Facility
Meet Information: www.hurricanesports.com

CLOSING THE BOOK ON INDOOR
The Ohio State men’s track and field team 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 in indoor. 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.

OUTDOOR SCHEDULE
After the Buckeyes open their outdoor season with a spring trip to the Hurricane Challenge this weekend, they’ll see some familiar faces as Ohio State welcomes Michigan for The Dual’ at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium April 5. The next week, Ohio State jumps right into open competition at the 2007 Sea Ray Relays in Knoxville, Tenn., April 12-13, while the distance area travels to Arizona State April 12. The team reunites to challenge for the All-Ohio title April 18-19 in Cincinnati and then heads to Des Moines, Iowa, the site of the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Meet, for the Drake Relays April 24-26.

Ohio State closes its home season with the 23rd running of the Jesse Owens Track Classic May 2-3. Each season, Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium serves as a setting for competition that spans high school, college, post-collegiate and professional athletes. Following a week off, the Buckeyes head to Champaign, Ill., for the 2007 Big Ten Outdoor Championships May 16-18. The NCAA Mideast Regional meet follows May 30-31 with a return trek to Fayetteville, Ark. The NCAA Championships are scheduled for June 11-14 in Des Moines.

The track and field season gets extended in Columbus in 2008 as Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium serves as the home for the 2008 USATF Junior National Championships June 20-22. The 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials are June 27-July 6 at Eugene, Ore. 

“I am excited about our 2008 schedule,” Gary said. “It affords us a couple scoring meets, access to great weather and the highest level of competition. Establishing an indoor/outdoor dual meet with University of Michigan, targeting at least a couple specific event area meets where the very, very best will be at and building the Jesse Owens Classic back up were the goals when we put it together this summer. I have no doubt that we have one of the most elite schedules in the NCAA.”

BUCKEYES ON THE NATIONAL STAGE
Volunteer coach Rob Myers, competing for Team Reebok, won the 1,500-meter run at the 2008 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships Sunday, Feb. 24, in Boston. Myers, who holds the meet record in the event, was an All-American with the Buckeyes in 2004 in the 1,500-meter run.

Myers’ time of 3:40.89 is the second-best by an American this season. Myers joined other Buckeyes in competing in the 2008 Indoor Championships in Boston. Also competing in the event was former Buckeye Joel Brown who took third in the 60-meter hurdles in a time of 7.54. Brown was a two-time All-American with the Buckeyes and is currently a volunteer coach with Ohio State’s women’s track and field team.

Myers currently holds the fifth best time in the mile at 3:57.82 at the Tyson Invitational. Former Buckeye All-American Dan Taylor grabbed eighth place in the shot put with a toss of 61 feet, 1 inches. Taylor was a two time national champion, winning the weight throw and shot put in 2004 and also was an eight-time All-American. Taylor currently holds the 11th-best shot put in the world 66 feet, 10 inches.

Competing at the USATF cross country championships were Taylor Williams and Brian Gallagher. Williams and Gallagher are freshmen who are currently redshirting. Williams finished 18th and Gallagher 32nd.

“SEE”ING IS BELEVIEING
Junior Jeff 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 title the last two seasons in the indoor mile and he also has a Big Ten 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.

JATSEK EARNS BIG TEN INDOOR FIELD ATHLETE OF THE WEEK AWARDS
In his final tune-up for the 2008 Big Ten Indoor Championships at the Zips Open, Jatsek posted a season-best toss in the weight throw of 69 feet, 9 inches (21.28 meters), an NCAA provisional qualifying mark. Jatsek won the event and claims the conference honor for the third time in his career. The toss by the Walton Hills, Ohio, native is the second-best toss of his career and fourth-best in Ohio State history. The mark also is the best toss in the conference this season and eighth in the country.

Jatsek has posted his Top 2 tosses this season in his last two events and will look to use that momentum this weekend as he looks for his third-consecutive Big Ten Championship in the weight throw. Combined with his sister Veronica Jatsek, (a senior on the women’s track and field team) the Jatsek’s have claimed five Big Ten field athlete of the week awards this season.  

Jatsek took his first AOW on Feb. 12 for his performance at the Meyo Invitational in South Bend, Ind.

Jatsek defeated a Big Ten-heavy field in the weight throw with a toss of 64 feet, 11 1/4 inches. Jatsek defeated Purdue’s Jon Pullam, who held the top throw in the Big Ten at the time. Jatsek returned the next day and took 12th in the shot put with a toss of 51 feet, 6 1/2 inches.

JATSEKS: AN ALL-AMERICAN FAMILY
Lenny and Veronica Jatsek earned All-American honors as a family in the 2008 indoor track season. Veronica Jatsek took fifth at the NCAA championships and Lenny Jatsek took tenth 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.
 
UP NEXT
The Buckeyes will welcome the University of Michigan next weekend for “The Dual.” The event is part of a three-year plan in which during the indoor season Ohio State and Michigan will have a dual meet in Ann Arbor and at Ohio State during the outdoor season. The meet also has a traveling trophy, a pennant with both school’s names on it. Michigan currently holds the pennant after winning the indoor half of “The Dual.