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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 16th-ranked Ohio State men’s track and field team heads to Geneva, Ohio, this Friday and Saturday, February 4-5, for the 2011 GaREAT Collegiate Invitational at the GaREAT Sports Complex.

The Buckeyes will be resting several top athletes at the weekend meet, hosted by the Geneva area Recreational, Educational and Athletic Trust. Friday events are scheduled to begin at approximately 5:00 p.m. ET, while Saturday’s activities will get underway at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Teams at the GaREAT Invite
No. 6 Indiana
No. 12 Auburn
No. 25 North Carolina
Wisconsin
Oklahoma
Princeton
Guelph (Ontario, Canada)

DeChant Earns Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week Recognition
Junior All-American Matt DeChant was named Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week January 31 by the conference office after a weekend of personal bests at the Penn State National Invitational.

The native of Avon Lake, Ohio, posted a pair of PRs in the shot put and weight throw, finishing first in the shot at 19.82m – the second-best distance in the nation this season and the sixth-best throw in school history – and second behind teammate Max Mays in the weight with a 19.97m toss, a Top 20 performance nationally. The award marks the second weekly honor of DeChant’s career.

Gary Named Assistant for Team USA at IAFF World Championships
Ohio State track and field and cross country head coach Robert Gary will represent the Buckeyes as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships, August 27 to September 4, in Daegu, South Korea, USA Track and Field announced last month.

Gary, in his fifth season as the track and field head coach and 14th leading the cross country team at Ohio State, will mentor the American distance runners under the direction of USA head coach Vin Lananna, Director of Track and Field at the University of Oregon.

“I have continued with coaching post-collegiate athletes and tried to assist at this level through presentations with USATF High Performance and Inside Development, so I am truly honored to have been appointed to such a prestigious staff,” Gary said of his selection to the Team USA workforce.  “Having the opportunity to be around the best track and field athletes in the world is extremely exciting and I am very much looking forward to it. I believe the only bigger assignment for our sport would be the Olympic Games. Professionally, I consider this the highest honor I have ever achieved.”

In addition to his duties with Team USA at the track and field championships, Gary will also direct the American junior squad at the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships March 20 in Punta Umbria, Spain. Gary has previous experience as an assistant at the junior level, having served on the U.S. staff at the 2010 World Junior Track and Field Championships in Mochton, Canada – that experience will serve him well, as he looks to improve an American squad that finished in eighth-place as a team at the 2010 championships.

Scarlet and Gray Check-in at No. 16 in Latest USTFCCCA Rankings
Ohio State vaulted to No. 16 in the January 31 U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Top 25 poll after a strong showing at Penn State last weekend.

Four Big Ten teams are featured in the Top 25, with No. 6 Indiana leading the way, followed by No. 9 Penn State, Ohio State, and No. 23 Minnesota. Florida is the top-ranked team in the nation, followed by No. 2 LSU and third-ranked Texas A&M.

OSU Well Represented in Individual Top 25 Rankings
Fourteen members of the men’s track and field team find themselves ranked within the Top 25 in several event areas nationally. A look at where the Buckeyes sit:

Cory Leslie – No. 2 in the mile
Matt DeChant – No. 2 in the shot put, No. 17 in the weight throw
Thomas Murdaugh – No. 5 in the 400m, No. 16 in the 4x400m relay
Max Mays – No. 6 in the weight throw
Michael Hartfield – No. 10 in the long jump
Marcus Brooks – No. 16 in the 4x400m relay
Marvel Brooks – No. 16 in the 4x400m relay
Demoye Bogle – No. 16 in the 4x400m relay
Chris Fallon – No. 20 in the DMR
Adam Green – No. 20 in the DMR, No. 21 in the 3000m
Aaron Roberts – No. 20 in the DMR, No. 20 in the 4x400m relay
Jared Hall – No. 20 in the DMR
Korbin Smith – No. 20 in the 4x400m relay
Tyler Branch – No. 20 in the shot put

Buckeyes Rack Up 565 Hours of Community Service for Fall Quarter
The Ohio State men’s track and team was hard at work off the track in the Greater Columbus area this past fall, contributing 536 total hours of community service to local organizations and charities.

All 56 team members completed at least 8 hours of volunteer work during fall quarter, with 18 student-athletes contributing 12 or more hours to local communities. Of special mention is the work done by junior Taylor Williams, who completed over 20 hours as a volunteer tutor.

Participating organizations included:

  • Second and Seven
  • Operation Buckeye
  • Life Care Alliance
  • Mid-Ohio Food Bank
  • Lima Food Bank
  • City Life Center
  • Various mentoring programs

In addition, the team continued its volunteer efforts for the third-consecutive year with Fifth Avenue Elementary, where Buckeye student-athletes serve as mentors.

Follow the Buckeyes on Facebook!
The Ohio State men’s track and field team is now on Facebook. Visit www.facebook.com/OSUtrackXC to catch up on the latest Buckeye news and notes.

Join the Olympian Club!
A fund-raising initiative created by head coach Robert Gary, the Ohio State Olympian Club hopes to generate financial support for track and field/cross country projects that are beyond the budget but extremely valuable in enhancing the experiences of the program’s student-athletes.

Besides supporting the members of the Ohio State track and field/cross country teams both on and off the track, donations will afford the Buckeyes the opportunity to continue to operate in a first-class manner, while setting a new standard for Division I programs.

For more information, visit the men’s track and field home page at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.   

Head coach Robert Gary
Robert Gary, now in his fifth season as the head men’s track and field coach and 15th coaching the cross country team, has elevated both programs to new heights and has established himself as one of the nation’s elite coaches.

Gary’s teams constantly strive for Top 3 finishes at the Big Ten championships in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field. And for the second time in three years, the Buckeyes did just that during the 2009-10 campaign. Gary led the cross country team to a second-place finish at the Big Ten championships as Jeff See took third overall among individuals. The Buckeyes went onto place third at the NCAA regionals before taking 21st at the NCAA championships behind See’s All-America finish. On the track, Gary led the Buckeyes to a second-place finish at the Big Ten indoor championships and a third-place showing during the outdoor season. See (mile/1500m) and Matt DeChant (shot put) earned All-America honors during the indoor and outdoor seasons while Thomas Murdaugh earned All-America honors in the 400m during the indoor. In addition, the Buckeyes swept their rival Michigan in “The Dual” by winning both indoor and outdoor meets.

Coach Gary continues to train the best each year for the USA Track and Field championships and Olympic trials. In June 2010, he helped train Dan Huling, who took first place in the 3000m steeplechase at the 2010 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. In addition, Huling, along with former Buckeye greats Rob Myers (1500m), Brian Olinger (steeplechase) and Jeff See (1500m) trained under Gary while preparing for the 2008 Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore.

Gary ended a decorated running career in 2005. A two time member of Team USA at the 1996 and 2004 Olympics, Gary placed second in the men’s steeplechase at the 1996 Olympic Trials with a career-best time of 8:19.46. Eight years later, his third-place finish at the trials gained an automatic bid on the U.S. team headed to Athens, Greece for the 2004 Games.  Gary also earned honors as a cross country athlete, competing on a total of 11 U.S. national teams.

As a student-athlete at Ohio State from 1992-1995, Gary was a six-event All-American, winning the Big Ten outdoor 3000m steeplechase title in 1994, where he set the Ohio State and Big Ten record in the event. He was a three-time all-Big Ten selection and member of three Big Ten championship teams (1992 outdoor, 1993 indoor and outdoor).

A 2009 inductee into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame, Gary received a degree in English education from Ohio State in the fall of 1996.

Last Time Out
Cory Leslie ran a blistering time of 3:57.97 in the mile January 29 at the Penn State National Invitational, shattering the Ohio State school record on his way to a first-place finish for the 24th-ranked Ohio State men’s track and field team.

The blazing time posted by Leslie, a junior from Huron, Ohio, is an NCAA automatic qualifier and the second-best time in the nation so far this season. In addition to breaking his own personal record and the OSU school record, Leslie also bettered the National Invitational meet record and Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track record time (previously 3:59.15).

Other meet highlights:

  • DeChant’s PRs in both the shot put (first, 19.82/65-0.25) and weight throw (19.97m/65-6.25).
  • Mays won the weight throw title with a PR toss of 20.88m (68-6).
  • Bogle set a PR in the 60m hurdles with a fifth-place time of 7.97 seconds.
  • Leslie wasn’t the only Buckeye to experience success in the mile. Fallon set a PR with his fourth-place time of 4:05.71, while Dan White, who is redshirting this indoor season, finished fifth with his own PR time of 4:07.78.
  •  Sophomore Marvel Brooks was the runner-up in the 500m invitational with a time of 1:04.05.

Up Next
Ohio State has two meets scheduled for next weekend, the New Mexico Invitational on February 11, and the Akron Invitational February 11-12.