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Buckeyes look to challenge for the title on their home track 

COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State men’s track and field team is excited to host the best of the Big Ten at the 2009 Big Ten Outdoor Championships May 15-17 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

2009 Championship Basics
Days: Friday, May 15 (12:00-9:15), Saturday, May 16 (9:30-6:45), Sunday, May 17 (10:30-3:45)
Venue: Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium
Admission: Single Session- Adult $7.00, Student $5.00
      All Sessions- Adult $18.00, Student $11.00
Tickets may be purchased by contacting the Ohio State Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-GO-BUCKS or via Ohio StateBuckeyes.com.
Television: Big Ten Network tape-delayed

The Ohio State Buckeyes
The Scarlet and Gray are led by Senior Jeff See, a 2008 All-American in the 1500m. Seereturned to the track in late April after being plagued by injuries for most of the spring. His presence makes Ohio State an instant threat in middle distance events.

Ohio State’s 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams are nationally ranked and among the best in the league. The 4x400m team is the defending  indoor champ and currently holds the second-best time in conference behind Illinois.

Thomas Murdaugh, the lone Buckeye NCAA Championships qualifier during the indoor campaign, is one of the top freshman sprinters in the country. He holds the second-best time in the Big Ten in the 400m and is the anchor of the Buckeyes’ dominant 4x400m squad.

John Ealy and Cory Leslie have had successful outdoor seasons in long distance events. Ealy holds the conference’s top time in the 10000m by more than 10 seconds, while Leslie is ranked in the Top 40 nationally in the 3000m steeplechase.

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. 38 nationally. The senior from West Dundee, Ill. holds Top 10 conference marks in each event.

The pole vault has become a more consistent event for Ohio State throughout the outdoor season. Both Kyle Burns and Bryan Chard have set NCAA regional qualifying standards, with Burns ranked in the Top 50 nationally.

Scouting the Big Ten
Minnesota, the defending indoor champion, is the highest-ranked team in the conference at No. 17 in the USTFCCCA poll. The Golden Gophers are led by Matt Fisher, the top-ranked collegiate athlete in the high jump and Hassan Mead, No.2-ranked in the 5000m run.

Michigan, the indoor runner-up, is led by All-American Adam Harris, one of the nation’s top sprinters. The senior has dominated the league in the 100m and 200m dashes and is the anchor of one of the Big Ten’s best 4x100m relay teams.

Gakologelwang Masheto of Illinois and Jeremy Orr of Michigan State will challenge Thomas Murdaugh in the 400m dash. All three athletes were NCAA national qualifiers during the indoor campaign, and Masheto currently holds the 18th-best time in the country.

Masheto is the anchor of the Illinois 4x400m relay, the team that holds the top time in the Big Ten this season — the Illini will be the top challenger to Ohio State in the event. UI also features a Top 10 athlete nationally in the 110m hurdles in Andrew Riley, whose time of 13.61 is tops in the conference this season.

Other notable athletes include Eric Sparks of Purdue, No. 9 in the pole vault and Penn State sophomores Joe Kovacs and Ryan Foster, ranked in the Top 15 in the shot put and 800m dash, respectively.

Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium
The 10,000-seat Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium arguably is one of the finest multi-sport facilities in the country, hosting track and field and lacrosse in the spring and soccer in the fall.

It serves as a cornerstone to the surrounding Ohio State athletic complex that features the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, softball’s Buckeye Field, the field hockey North Turf Field, Bill Davis Stadium and the 19,200-seat Jerome Schottenstein Center.

Alumni Gather to Kick-Off Big Ten finals
Ohio State head coach Robert Gary will host Buckeye track and field alumni at a reunion held in conjunction with the 2009 Big Ten Track and Field Championships. All former athletes and family are welcome to the event, to be held at French Fieldhouse May 15 at 7:00 p.m. For more information, visit the Men’s Track and Field home page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com and click on the “Alumni Reunion” logo.

Buckeye History at the Outdoor Championships
Ohio State has claimed four titles, 47 Top Five finishes and more than 100 individual championships since the inception of the league finals in 1913.

The Buckeyes’ first title came in 1942, led by Robert Wright’s victories in the 70-yard high and low hurdles. Coach Larry Snyder earned his second title at Ohio State six years later in 1948, fueled by Buckeye victories in the one-mile relay, 440-yard run, 70-yard high hurdles and broad jump.

The Scarlet and Gray dominated the Big Ten in the early 1990s under longtime coach Russ Rogers, winning back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993 while taking second in both 1991 and 1994. Rogers was named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1993 based on his team’s outstanding accomplishments.

The new millennium has witnessed a great deal of Buckeye success in individual competition. Former All-American Andrew Pierce was named Athlete of the Championships in 2001 he still holds meet records in the 200m, 400m and 4x400m relay. 2004 NCAA Champion Dan Taylor, the 2003 Big Ten Athlete of the Year holds the championship record in the weight throw.

2008 Big Ten Championship Recap
Ohio State finished in third place at the 2008 Championships in Champaign, Ill., closing the meet with 100 points. The 2008 season marked the second time in Ohio State history that the men’s cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams all finished in the Top Three at their respective championships.

The highlight of the championships for the Buckeyes was their sweep of the javelin throw. Bryan Bunnell dominated the event with a winning toss of 66.78m, with Patrick Filipi taking second with a throw of 66.12m. The two bested the field by almost two meters.

David Ebersole set a season-best mark while winning the hammer throw with his toss of 64.52m, edging Benn Harpenau of Purdue, who held the Big Ten’s best hammer throw coming into the meet.

Ohio State’s 4×100-meter relay team of James Manley, Anthony Cole, Stephen Robinson and Brian Robiskie took third with a time of 40.88.

Jeff See took second in the 1,500m dash with a time of 4:04.13, earning eight points for the Buckeyes. Matt Comer took sixth in the 400m dash final at 47.41.

Daniel White finished fifth in the 800m run with a time of 1:51.09. White was the top freshman in the field. In his fourth race in less than 24 hours, See took eight in the 800-meter in 1:52.24.

Elon Simms raced his way to second-place in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 51.75, edging Ryan Smith of Indiana by .008 seconds.

The 200m saw Cole earned eight points for the Buckeyes by finishing second with a time of 20.93. Curtis Leuenberger was right behind Cole, finishing third at 21.20. For the day Cole earned 16 points as an individual and as member of the 4×100-meter team helped the Buckeyes earn another six.   

In the 5,000m run Chad Balyo took seventh with a time of 14:39.79. Patrick Whalen took fourth in the shot put at 18.01m.

Last Time Out
Distance runners Jeff See and Daniel White competed under the lights May 9 at the Oregon Twilight in Eugene, Ore.

For the second-consecutive weekend, See ran a regional qualifying time, this time in the 1500m. See finished third with a time of 3:44.88, right behind cross country All-American Mark Steeds of Georgia State (3:44.01) and Ian Cronin from Eugene Running Company (3:44.09). His time is the fourth-best in the Big Ten this season.

White ran a PR and a regional qualifying time of 1:49.42 in the 800m to finish seventh. Kevin Hicks of OTC Elite was first with a time of 1:47.63.

Several field specialists represented the Buckeyes at the Cedarville Challenge May 8. Patrick Whalen placed first in the shot put with a mark of 17.78m, the fourth-best in the Big Ten.

Kyle Burns led the way in the pole vault with a PR and regional qualifying height of 5.08m to finish second overall. Teammate Bryan Chard took third, clearing 4.88m.
Thomas Davis and Max Mays took second and third in the hammer throw with tosses of 54.43 and 53.29m, respectively.

Up Next
The Buckeyes will take the week off before traveling to Louisville, Ky. for the NCAA Regional Championships May 29 and 30.