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COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State men’s track and field team returns to Akron this Friday for the Zips Invitational in final preparation for next weekend’s trip east to Penn State and the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships. OSU will be resting several top performers in an attempt to fine tune the rest of their lineup for the challenges that will be presented in State College.

“Next week will be a tune up for us,” Ohio State head coach Robert Gary said at the conclusion of last Saturday’s competition. “The entire focus is on the conference meet. We feel we can still match last year’s performance.”

Competing alongside the Buckeyes will be host school Akron and Buffalo. Division II power Ashland and Ohio Wesleyan out of Division III will also send several individual athletes to compete.

The University of Akron’s Stile Field House will once again play host to the invite, with competition scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. EST Friday. For live results of the meet, visit www.finishtiming.com.

Schedule of Events
60m Dash        High Jump
60m Hurdles    Pole Vault
200m Dash      Long Jump
400m Dash      Triple Jump
800m Run        Shot Put 
1 Mile Run        Weight Throw
3,000m Run     4x400m Relay

Gridiron Star Bursts on to the Track Scene
When he isn’t busy causing nightmares for opposing wide receivers on the football field, Chimdi Chekwa, a defensive back for the Buckeye football team creates problems for rivals on the track. In his first major event of the season, Chekwa took second place in the 60m dash with a time of 6.81, the top time on the team and the sixth best time in the Big Ten Conference in 2009.

Robinson Rules 200m in Akron
Stephen Robinson, a junior from Trotwood, Ohio, set a personal record in the finals of the 200m at the Akron Invitational Saturday. His time of 21.38 is the third-best in the Big Ten Conference this season. Robinson began his season with an upset of Michigan All-American Adam Harris at “The Dual” in Ann Arbor on Jan. 17 and has seen his time steadily improve ever since. He owns the top two Ohio State runs in the 200 this year.

Buckeyes Move Up Six Spots in USTFCCCA Rankings
Ohio State comes in at No. 58 in the latest United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I rankings, jumping six spots after last weekend’s performance in Akron.

No. 11 Minnesota now carries the torch for the Big Ten Conference, holding the highest ranking in the league after Michigan fell 24 spots to No. 37.

Michigan State saw another huge leap in the poll this week as they passed 13 teams in to the No. 19 position. MSU is followed by Indiana at No.35, Michigan, No. 38 Penn State, No. 52 Illinois, No. 54 Iowa  and Ohio State. Purdue and Wisconsin follow the Buckeyes at No. 67 and No. 83, respectively.

Last Time Out
OSU made their first of two consecutive trips to Akron, Ohio last weekend for the Akron Invitational.

“I really stressed the importance of moving ourselves onto the Big Ten list and we had some great PR’s,” Robert Gary, Ohio State head coach, said. “We were able to rest Thomas (Murdaugh), but I thought Brandon Woodard and Matt Comer are really rounding into form. We also had some great doubles in the 1500/800 from Cory (Leslie) and Dan (White).

Patrick Woods, who was competing unattached, took home first place in the Heptathlon with an NCAA provisional and PR score of 5,359 points. Rob Wade came in fourth place with a PR of 4,856 points. 

In the shot put Gold division, Patrick Whalen took fifth place with a toss of 17.38m, followed by Tyler Branch who came in sixth at 16.80m. Matt DeChant was eighth at 16.26m.

Bryan Chard took second in the Gold division of the men’s pole valut, clearing a season-best 5.03m. Michael Uhle of Akron was first with a leap of 5.20m.
DeChant, however, fared much better in the Gold division of the weight throw with a first-place toss of 18.64m. Max Mays (18.24) and Branch (17.80) were sixth and seventh, respectively.

In the distance events, Ohio State was led by John Ealy’s third-place finish in the Gold 5000m run with a time of 14:29.73. Cory Leslie led the Buckeyes with a fourth-place run in the Gold mile (4:09.22) while Daniel White nearly missed an NCAA provisional mark with his second-place run at 1:51.06.
Matt Comer took home first place in the Gold 400m dash at 47.70. Brandon Woodard was fifth at 47.93.