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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s track and field team will be open its 2011 indoor season this Friday, January 7 as hosts the Buckeye Classic.

The friendly confines of French Field House will play host to the invitational, with events set to begin at approximately 6:00 p.m. ET. Up-to-date scoring will be available at www.FinishTiming.com with a complete recap after the meet at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.   

The 2010 indoor season was a major success for the Scarlet and Gray, as the Buckeyes placed second at the Big Ten championships, their highest conference finish in nine years. As a whole, the season witnessed many personal records and Ohio State records fall. In addition, head coach Karen Dennis was named Great Lakes Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for her guidance and leadership during the 2010 campaign.

Here is a quick look at some of the top returners and several key newcomers on the 2011 Buckeye roster:

Top Returners
Letecia Wright – A three-time All-Big Ten performer and three-time Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week, Wright has been a huge contributor as a hurdler and sprinter in her three years at Ohio State. The Baltimore, Md., native led the team in the 60m dash and 60m hurdles as a junior in 2010, while turning in 12th-place finishes in the 60m and 100m hurdles at the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships, respectively.

Christina Manning – Manning is a 2010 Indoor All-American in the 60m hurdles and the 2010 Big Ten 60m hurdles champion. The junior placed seventh at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships running a PR of 8.22 in the prelims and 8.30 in the finals. A native of Waldorf, Md., Manning captured runner-up finishes at the Big Ten championships in both the 60m and 200m.

Maggie Mullen – Mullen, one of the most experienced throwers on the Buckeyes roster, was a 2010 Big Ten champion and Outdoor All-American in the javelin. The junior set PRs throughout last year’s indoor season in the weight throw and shot put.

Jordan Jennewine – Jennewine returns to the track for the first time since 2009 after missing all of last season due to injury. She is the school record holder in the outdoor 1500m (4:23.37) and a member of the school record holding indoor DMR squad (11:32.71). The redshirt junior also excels in the classroom, as she is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten and a three-time Ohio State Scholar Athlete.

Key Newcomers
Madison McNary – McNary, a University of Florida transfer, ran the 60m and 200m dash indoors for the Gators and was a member of a successful 4x100m relay team for UF. The junior from Tarpon Springs, Fla., is a former Florida state high school champion in the 100m and 200m and is expected to make early contributions to the Buckeyes as a sprinter.

Adenike Pedro – The freshman from Maryland was a first team All-State selection in the long jump. Pedro also saw success in the long jump at the 2009 Nike Outdoor Track and Field Championships where she placed third.

Meredith Wagner – Wagner had a standout cross country season for the Buckeyes as she had the most successful season by a true freshman in Ohio State history, advancing to the 2010 NCAA Cross Country Championships in her first year in the Scarlet and Gray. The Sylvania, Ohio, native was the second-place finisher in the 3200m at the 2010 OHSAA Division I State Track and Field Championships in 10:50.98.

French Field House
Completed in November 1956 at a cost of $1,010,000, French Field House was designed for indoor track and field meets but is also used as a practice facility for a number of varsity squads at Ohio State.

A $1.3 million renovation project inside the field house was completed in October 2009. Renovations include:

  • An all-new 200-meter state-of-the-art track and indoor field competition surface
  • Brand new bleachers along the south side with a capacity of 800
  • New long jump/triple jump pits
  • Permanent throws area
  • Re-painting of interior roof, steel beams and walls

The field house was named in honor of Prof. William E. French, who was the Western Conference faculty representative for The Ohio State University for 32 years.

Buckeyes Ranked No. 23 in USTFCCCA Preseason Poll
The Ohio State women’s track and field team checks-in at No. 23 in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Preseason Top 25 poll.

One of two Big Ten teams in the national Top 25, along with No. 19 Penn State, the Buckeyes feature three individuals ranked in the Top 10 in their respective events. Senior Letecia Wright (No. 5) and junior All-American Christina Manning (No. 6) are ranked in the 60m hurdle Top 10, while Shaniqua McGinnis finds herself ranked fourth in the 400m. Individual rankings are based on the top national times from the 2010 indoor campaign.

Follow the Buckeyes on Facebook!
The women’s track and field and cross country programs are now on Facebook. Visit www.facebook.com/OSUwtrackXC to get the latest news and notes on the Buckeyes.

Head coach Karen Dennis
Karen Dennis was hired as Ohio State’s first women’s track and field and cross country head coach since 1993 in July of 2005. Prior to taking over the OSU women’s helm, Dennis spent four seasons as a sprints and hurdles assistant for both the Buckeye men’s and women’s programs. The Detroit, Mich., native and Michigan State grad returned to the Midwest in 2003 following a 10-year stretch (1992-2002) as head coach at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and after serving as the head coach of the United States women’s national team at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

The women’s track and field and cross country program has made significant strides the past few seasons under Dennis’ tutelage. In 2010, the Buckeyes surprised many throughout the Big Ten and the Midwest with a dazzling second-place finish at the Big Ten indoor championships – its highest indoor finish in nine years – behind outstanding performances by Christina Manning and Shaniqua McGinnis. Manning captured two runner-up titles (200m, 60m) and a Big Ten title in the 60m hurdles while McGinnis pulled the upset of the championships by defeating Penn State All-American Fawn Dorr in the 400m run. Manning would finish the indoor season with a bang, becoming an All-American after a seventh-place finish in the finals of the 60m hurdles at the NCAA indoor championships.

The outdoor season was highlighted by Maggie Mullen’s Big Ten title and All-America finish in the javelin. In all, Dennis’ Buckeyes took home nine All-Big Ten awards during the indoor and outdoor seasons. Additionally, the women’s cross country team made its first NCAA appearance in school history in the fall of 2009.

Dennis has been involved on the national and international track and field scenes for quite some time. She served as the assistant coach of the 1995 World Championships squad in Gotteberg, Sweden. She also coached the U.S. women’s team at the 1991 Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba and served as an assistant women’s coach at the World University Championships in Duisburg, Germany, in 1989.

Up Next
Ohio State will head to Ann Arbor to compete against rival Michigan in “The Dual” January 15 at the U-M Indoor Track Building.