COLUMBUS, Ohio In final preparation for the Big Ten Indoor Championships next weekend in State College, Pa., the Ohio State men’s track and field team competed Friday night in Akron, Ohio at the Zips Invitational.
Led by another excellent performance from the throwing team of Patrick Whalen, Matt DeChant, Max Mays and Tyler Branch, OSU put together a solid effort despite resting several of their top athletes.
“I thought the throwers did a pretty good job tonight for us,” head coach Robert Gary said at the conclusion of Friday’s action. “Led by Patrick Whalen, they were all around their personal records.”
Whalen was the star of the night for the Buckeyes, claiming first place in the shot put with an NCAA provisional mark of 18.01m (59-01.25). He also tossed his way into sixth place in the weight throw at 17.49m (57-04.75).
DeChant earned two top three placements on the night, as he took second in the weight throw at 18.60m (61-00.25) and third in the shot (17.47m/57-03.75). Mays and Branch were dependable once again for the Buckeyes; Mays took third in the weight throw and Branch fifth in both the weight and shot.
On the track, OSU was led by a one-two finish in the 4×400 relay. The team of Curtis Leuenberger, James Manley, Aaron Roberts and Stuart Smith crossed the finish line in 3:14.65 to pull out a close victory over teammates Brandon Woodard, Matt Comer, Stephen Robinson and Thomas Murdaugh.
Ohio State also took the top two slots in the 60m dash. Chimdi Chekwa followed up his strong performance last weekend with a first place sprint in 6.84, beating out James Manley by .07 seconds. Chekwa’s run was the seventh best in the Big Ten this season, while Manley’s time of 6.91 was a career best.
“We got a strong performance from Chimdi and Manley tonight,” Gary noted. “Manley had a personal record and Chimdi was just off his seasonal best.”
Jonathan Francois was the other noteworthy finisher for the Scarlet and Gray, placing third in the 60m hurdles in 8.13 seconds.