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Hartfield wins long jump title; DMR finishes second

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – On the heels of Michael Hartfield’s Big Ten title in the long jump, the 22nd-ranked Ohio State men’s track and field team sits in first place at the end of day one at the 2011 Big Ten Indoor Championships, hosted by the University of Illinois Armory.

Hartfield, a former junior college national champion, captured the first conference crown of his Buckeye career with a personal-best jump of 7.85m (25-9.25), a Top 10 Division I performance this season and the third-best mark in school indoor history. Teammate Korbin Smith, the 2010 Big Ten outdoor champion in the long jump, helped the Buckeyes pull off a 1-2 sweep with his runner-up jump of 7.51m (24-7.75), a season-best performance. Altogether, the duo earned a total of 18 points toward the Buckeyes’ team score.

Along with Hartfield and Smith, the distance medley team also starred on the first day of competition for Ohio State – Chris Fallon, Aaron Roberts, Jared Hall and Cory Leslie picked up eight valuable points toward the Buckeyes’ team score with a second-place time of 9:54.20. Minnesota won the DMR title in 9:50.58.

With a total of 34 team points, the Buckeyes sit atop the leader board after five events. Three-time defending conference champion and 20th-ranked Minnesota is second with 30 points, followed by No. 3 Indiana (28.50).

Here’s an event-by-event breakdown of day one in Champaign for Ohio State:

60m Hurdle Prelims
Freshman Demoye Bogle posted a PR of 7.93 – the third-best time in school history – to punch his ticket to Sunday’s final, winning his heat and finishing third overall in the process. Iowa sophomore Jordan Mullen’s 7.80 sprint will be the time to beat tomorrow.

200m Prelims
All-American Thomas Murdaugh will represent the Buckeyes in the 200m dash finals on Sunday after recording a sixth-place time of 21.68 in the preliminaries.  Justin Austin of Iowa leads the field after posting a 21.43 sprint Saturday. 

400m Prelims
Murdaugh is the favorite in Sunday’s 400m championship race after his first-place time of 47.18 in the preliminaries. Smith also qualified for the final, finishing seventh in 49.26. Steven Willey of Iowa (47.81) and Penn State freshman Brady Gehret (48.54) finished 2-3 behind Murdaugh and will be the junior’s top challengers for the title.

600m Prelims
A PR time of 1:20.24 helped Marcus Brooks qualify for the 600m finals – the sophomore crossed the finish line in fifth-place overall. Harun Abda of Minnesota turned in the prelim’s top time (1:18.04).

800m Prelims
Hall will participate in Sunday’s championship after finishing fourth in his heat and seventh overall with a time 1:52.87. Minnesota’s Nick Hutton is the leader of the pack (1:50.69) heading into the finals, but Penn State All-American Ryan Foster remains the favorite after winning his heat in a time of 1:51.36, the third-fastest on the day.

Mile Prelims
Leslie qualified for Sunday’s final with a time of 4:04.70 – the junior posted the second-fastest time in his heat and fourth-best overall. Fallon just missed final round qualification, finishing 12th in 4:08.31. Minnesota’s Ben Blankenship (4:03.01) leads the field heading into tomorrow’s championship. 

Shot Put
Junior All-American Matt DeChant earned a place on the podium with a third-place toss of 18.35m (60-2.50), well behind Penn State All-American Joe Kovacs, who won the conference crown with an NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 19.84m (65-1.25), second-best in the nation this season. Tyler Branch’s seventh-place toss of 17.55m (57-7) helped the Buckeyes capture a total of eight points in the event.

Long Jump
Hartfield and Smith starred for the Buckeyes, but junior Stephen MacDonald and sophomore Derek Blevins also performed well. MacDonald finished ninth with a PR jump of 7.22m (23-8.25), with Blevins taking 10th at 7.19m (23-7.25).

Heptathlon
Heath Nickles sits in 13th after four events with 3304 points. The junior’s top finish came in the shot put, where he finished sixth with a PR of 13.35m (43-9.75). Minnesota’s Joey Schwecke leads the field 3304 points.

Team Rankings – Five Events Scored
1) Ohio State – 34 points
2) Minnesota – 30
3) Indiana – 28.50
4) Wisconsin – 25
5) Illinois – 20
6) Penn State – 17
7) Michigan State – 14
8) Iowa – 10
9) Michigan – 9.50
10) Purdue – 7

Competition resumes at 11:00 a.m. ET with the heptathlon 60m hurdles. A complete recap of the day’s events will be available after the meet at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.