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Third place finish highlights opening day for Buckeyes

COLUMBUS, OH Senior Patrick Whalen began the final Big Ten indoor meet of his career in style, taking third in the finals of the shot put with a mark of 17.97m to lead the Ohio State men’s track and field team Saturday at the conference’s indoor championships at Penn State.

“We had a great first day, qualifying 10 of a possible 12 for the finals and had some good performances in the finals,” head coach Robert Gary said. “(Steve) MacDonald in the long jump was a very pleasant surprise. The shot went very well led by senior Patrick Whalen. Matt DeChant did a good job fighting for points. We will need everyone to show up tomorrow to do better than our third-place finish last season.”

Whalen was one of two Buckeyes to finish in the top six of the shot put. Matt DeChant continued to be a steady contributor for the Scarlet and Gray, placing sixth behind Whalen in at 17.29m.

Steve MacDonald, a freshman from North Olmsted, Ohio, shattered his previous career best performance in the finals of the long jump. His leap of 7.03m was just enough to squeak past another top Big Ten freshman, Indiana’s Olumide Olamigoke.

On the track, Ohio State placed two runners into Sunday’s 60m dash final, junior Stephen Robinson and sophomore Chimdi Chekwa. Robinson placed fourth with a qualifying time of 6.81 seconds — a personal record — as Chekwa secured the seventh position in 6.84.

Jonathan Francois hurdled his way to a career-best time and fourth-place finish in the preliminaries of the 60m hurdles in 8.03 seconds.

The 400m prelims saw two Buckeyes finish in the top five — freshman Thomas Murdaugh and senior Matt Comer. Murdaugh took third in 47.78, while Comer qualified fifth in 48.16.

Ohio State’s distance medley team of freshmen Murdaugh, Corey Morgan, Cory Leslie and sophomore Daniel White placed sixth in the finals of the distance medley with a time of 9:50.31.

Competition concludes tomorrow from Penn State beginning at 10:15 a.m. ET.