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DES MOINES, Iowa The 4x400m relay team of Matt Comer, Stephen Robinson, Brandon Woodard and Thomas Murdaugh directed an outstanding effort by the Ohio State men’s track and field Saturday on the final day of the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.

Running alongside some of the best teams in the country, Ohio State placed second with an NCAA provisional time of 3:07.65, the Big Ten’s second-best time this season. Baylor, the team that qualified second behind the Buckeyes in the preliminary heats, overtook the Scarlet and Gray Saturday with a run of 3:05.11.

“Without question the highlight of the meet was the 4×400,” Ohio State head coach Robert Gary said at the conclusion of the competition. “Placing second behind a perennial powerhouse like Baylor shows that we can run with the best in the NCAA.”

Storms passed through the Des Moines area for most of the day Saturday. The rain and wind caused problems in many events, and Gary believes the 4×400 was one of them:

“If the weather was better, I think this team is definitely capable of a time around 3:05 — Coach Ed Beathea has done a great job with those guys.”

Cory Leslie, coming off of two first-place finishes last weekend in Louisville, finished third in the finals of the 3000m steeplechase. The freshman surpassed the NCAA regional qualifying mark with his time of 9:05.05, the fifth-best in the Big Ten this season.

The distance medley saw a seventh place finish from the Buckeyes — Jeff See, Brandon Woodard, Daniel White and Chad Balyo finished in 9:50.37. Stanford was first with a time of 9:36.14, followed by Big Ten representatives Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“The medley went well,” Gary said. “It was nice to have Jeff get through a second race.” See also competed in the 4×800 Friday evening, his first race this outdoor season.

Senior Patrick Whalen followed up his eighth-place performance in the shot put Friday with the same finish in the discus. The throw of 51.42m fell just short of the NCAA provisional standard. Gary was pleased with his effort:

“Pat has become much more consistent with the discus this year,” he said. “The fact that he took eighth at a very prestigious says a lot about his improvement in the event.”

4x200m Takes Fourth 
Action Friday evening at the relays concluded with a fourth-place finish for the Buckeyes in the 4x200m relay. Ohio State’s time of 1:23.88 was not enough to overtake Baylor the Bears won the event in 1:22.01, followed by Texas-El Paso and Texas-Arlington.

The Buckeyes return home to play host to the Jesse Owens Track Classic May 1 and 2 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.