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COLUMBUS, Ohio Coming off its highest finish at the Big Ten Championships since 2001, the Ohio State men’s track and field team heads to Louisville, Ky. for the 2009 NCAA Mideast Championships, May 29 and 30 at Cardinal Park. 

The 2009 NCAA Mideast Championships will be the first track and field regional ever contested in the state of Kentucky. The current regional format has been in place since 2003, when the Buckeyes played host to the event at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Three other regional finals will be held this year at North Carolina A&T State (East), Oklahoma (Midwest) and Oregon (West).

Ohio State Accepted Entries
200m Dash Curtis Leuenberger, Matt Comer
400m Dash Thomas Murdaugh, Matt Comer
800m Run Daniel White
1500m Run Jeff See
3000m Steeplechase Christopher Olinger, Cory Leslie, Adam Green
5000m Run John Ealy
10000m Run John Ealy
Pole Vault Kyle Burns, Bryan Chard
Shot Put Patrick Whalen, Tyler Branch
Discus Patrick Whalen
Hammer Throw Thomas Davis
Javelin Bryan Bunnell
Decathlon Patrick Woods
4x400m Relay Brandon Woodard, Stephen Robinson, Curtis Leuenberger, Thomas Murdaugh (Matt Comer is the alternate)

Scouting the Buckeyes
The Scarlet and Gray are led by senior Jeff See, a 2008 All-American in the 1500m. See returned to the track in late April after being plagued by injuries for most of the spring and is coming off of a third-place finish in the event at the Big Ten Championships.

Ohio State’s 4x400m relay team is among the best in the Midwest. Anchored by freshman phenom Thomas Murdaugh, the Buckeyes are the defending Big Ten outdoor and indoor champions and are currently ranked No. 18 in the latest USTFCCCA poll.

Murdaugh, the lone Buckeye NCAA Championships qualifier during the indoor campaign, is one of the top freshman sprinters in the country. After winning the 400m at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, Murdaugh placed second at the outdoor event.

Patrick Whalen has been the Buckeye leader in field events, holding team high marks in both the discus and shot put, where he is ranked No. 11 nationally. The senior from West Dundee, Ill. holds Top 10 conference marks in each event and set a PR in the shot two weeks ago at the Big Ten Championships with an impressive mark of 18.58m.

Senior Patrick Woods has become a force in the decathlon, ranked No. 16 nationally. Woods pulled off a huge upset at the league finals in defeating Minnesota’s R.J. McGinnis for the decathlon title with a PR record point total of 7405, the second-best score in school history.

The 4x100m relay team, coming off its title at the Big Ten Championships, will not compete this weekend due to injuries.

Nine Buckeyes Take Home All-Big Ten Honors
Nine Buckeyes officially earned All-Big Ten honors when the conference named its first and second team honorees May 20.

Highlighting the first-teamers was senior Patrick Woods, the Big Ten Champion in the decathlon. Woods fought through two days of intense competition, placing third in the long jump, first in the shot put, third in the high jump, second in the 110 hurdles, first in the discus, third in the pole vault and seventh in a grueling 1500m dash to clinch the win.

Also named to the first team were James Manley, Curtis Leuenberger (who ran in both relay events), Lamaar Thomas and Chimdi Chekwa from the winning 4×100 team and Matt Comer, Stephen Robinson and Thomas Murdaugh from the champion 4×400 squad.

Leuenberger, who helped total 28 points in all for the Buckeyes, was named to the second-team thanks to his runner-up finish in the 200m dash — Murdaugh finished second in the 400m dash with a personal record time of 46.26 to claim his spot on the second-team.

Patrick Whalen, who was Ohio State’s top scorer with 14 points among individuals, was named to the second-team after a personal record throw of 18.58m in the shot secured a second-place finish. He also picked up six points in the discus, finishing third in the finals with a toss of 51.53m.

Woods Named Ohio State Speedway Athlete of the Week
Patrick Woods, a senior from East Liverpool, Ohio, was named the Speedway Ohio State Athlete of the Week after winning the Big Ten title in the decathlon at the conference track and field championships May 16. The crowd at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium witnessed a personal best performance from Woods in the final home meet of his career, as he totaled 7405 points, the second-best score in school history.

Simms Awarded Prestigious McMurry Citizenship Award
Elon Simms, a senior from Fremont, Ohio was presented with the McMurry Citizenship Award at the College of Social Work Annual Scholarship Luncheon, held at the Faculty Club on May 20. The award honors student athletes with a minimum 3.0 GPA who have demonstrated outstanding interest in volunteerism and those who best exemplify the idea of “Education for Citizenship” through significant volunteer service to the community. 

Coaches representing the 36 varsity sports nominated candidates for this award, and a committee of graduate-level social work student leaders selected the recipient. 

A social work major, Simms has been team captain for the past two seasons. Read the complete article at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

Last Time Out
In front of its home town fans, the Ohio State men’s track and field team finished in second-place at the 2009 Big Ten Outdoor Championships May 17.

The 4x400m relay team defended its 2009 indoor title, overtaking Illinois over the last 100-meters to take the victory in a regional qualifying time of 3:09.61. The Illini finished second in 3:09.68, followed by Wisconsin at 3:11.80.

After a faulty first handoff, Ohio State used three near-perfect exchanges to take the title in the 4x100m relay with a regional qualifying time of 40.63, edging Illinois (40.63) down the stretch.

A personal record throw of 18.58m in the shot put secured a second-place finish for senior Patrick Whalen. The fourth-best mark in school history was bested by Minnesota junior Aaron Studt at 18.75m. Whalen was third in the discus with a toss of 51.53m.

Thomas Murdaugh finished second in the 400m dash with a personal record time of 46.26. The Buckeye freshman battled Illinois senior Gakologelwang Masheto throughout the race, as the two pulled away from the rest of the field over the final 100. Masheto had just enough in the tank to hold of Murdaugh, as the UI senior won the race with a Big Ten season best time of 46.24.

Curtis Leuenberger took the field by surprise with second-place finish in the 200m dash in a season best time of 21.07. All-American Adam Harris of Michigan was the victor in 20.78, with Masheto of Illinois following his 400m victory with a third-place run of 21.17. 

Jeff See finished third in the 1500m with a time of 3:58.17. The field set a slow pace early on as See ran near the back of the pack for most of the race before making a final kick over the back stretch to slide into the third spot. Wisconsin took one-two with Craig Miller claiming the title in 3:57.57 and Jeff Bolas finishing second in 3:57.72.

The steeplechase saw a fourth-place finish from Adam Green. The sophomore ran a personal record time of 9:06.71.

Up Next
Qualifying athletes will compete at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships June 10-13 in Fayetteville, Ark.