COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State men’s track and field team capped off a solid weekend at the Penn State National Invitational Saturday at the Horace Ashenfelter Indoor Track in University Park, Pa. Despite resting a number of key athletes, the Buckeyes still turned in their share of Top 5 finishes and saw some youngsters rise to the occasion.
“Thomas Murdaugh had a fantastic run in the 400, along with Daniel White,” head coach Robert Gary said. “Matt DeChant had a huge breakthrough in the shot and Chad Balyo had a superb mile run.
“I thought we performed real well overall. We sat some kids, but will run everyone at Notre Dame when Jeff See and Dan White head over for the Boston Indoor Games. We need to continue to improve in all areas if we hope to do as well as we did last year at the Big Ten championships that’s the goal.”
In the 400m finals, freshman Thomas Murdaugh stole the show with a first-place showing in a PR time of 47.37, more than a full second head of second-place Jermaine Lowery of Pittsburgh. Junior Curtis Leuenberger finished second in the 200m with a time of 21.84. In the 500m run, junior Brandon Woodard took second place with a time of 1:04.28 just .06 seconds behind the winning time.
Ohio State had a strong showing in the 3000m run with sophomore Christopher Olinger finishing second in a time of 8:22.48 while redshirt freshman Taylor Williams came in seventh at 8:28.81.
After finishing third Friday in the weight throw, DeChant won the shot put Saturday with an NCAA provisional toss of 18.05m. Meanwhile senior Patrick Whalen took third with a provisional toss of his own at 17.89m.
In the invitational events, White finished second in the 800m in a time of 1:50.86. Corey Morgan was third in the 1000m in a time of 2:28.86 and Stephen Robinson fourth in the 200m (21.73), while Balyo came in fifth in the mile with an NCAA provisional time of 4:03.64.
Capping off the weekend was another first-place performance from the Buckeye 4x400m relay team of Brandon Woodard, Matt Comer, Elon Simms and Thomas Murdaugh. They finished with a time of 3:13.52.
Matt DeChant, Max Mays and Tyler Branch carried the flag for the Ohio State men’s track and field team on day one of the Penn State National Invitational, delivering three Top 10 finishes in the 35-pound weight throw final.
DeChant, a sophomore who redshirted the 2008 season, set his season high mark of 18.64m to finish third behind Kentucky’s Rashaud Scott and Matthew Gac of Buffalo. Finishing close behind in fourth was Mays, a local product out of Grove City, whose toss of 18.24m was also a season best. A throw of 17.38m was good enough for an eighth place finish for Branch, the 2007 Ohio Division III State Champion in the shot put.
“I was very pleased with the weight throwers,” Robert Gary, Ohio State head coach said at the conclusion of the first day’s events. “Coach Mannon has done a great job developing these guys and had almost three around 60 feet.”
Also competing on day one for the Buckeyes were senior Stephen Robinson, following up an impressive showing at the Dual with a 10th place finish in the 60m dash semifinals and junior Jonathan Francois, who recorded his best time of the season with a 8.19 in the semifinals of the 60m hurdles.