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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s track and field team returns to the friendly confines of French Field House for the Buckeye Tune-up Feb. 19.

Head coach Karen Dennis and the Buckeyes hope to use Friday’s home meet as an opportunity to perfect their lineup heading into next weekend’s Big Ten indoor championships at Penn State. Like the season-opening Buckeye Classic, the tune-up will allow fans a chance to watch an outstanding collection of experienced veterans and young talent on the same track.

Ohio University headlines the list of team’s joining the Buckeyes at French Field House. The Buckeyes and Bobcats will be joined by athletes from Wright State, Austin Peay, Ohio Wesleyan, Capital and Wittenberg. Competition begins at approximately 4 p.m. ET Friday with the weight throw. Live stats can be found at www.FinishTiming.com, while a complete recap will be posted following the conclusion of the meet at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.  

French Field House Upgrades
Friday’s meet at French Field House will be the second indoor meet hosted by the Buckeyes this season. The 54-year old facility is fresh-off a $1.3 million renovation project that was completed in October 2009, aimed at making the meet day experience for both fans and athletes better. 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

French Field House was first completed in 1956 at a cost of just over $1 million. The facility is used primarily for the track and field teams, but is also used as a practice and multi-purpose facility for other sports and special events.

Ohio State Jump to No. 3 in Great Lakes Region
With a total of 251.82 points, Ohio State jumped to No. 3 in the Feb. 16 Great Lakes regional rankings by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

A week after falling to fifth in the region, the Buckeyes regained a firm grip on the third spot after a solid weekend at the Akron Invitational. The regional rankings – a new concept for the 2010 season – are designed to measure a team’s overall depth, whereas the national poll places greater emphasis on national championship contenders on a team’s roster.

Indiana is once again the top-ranked team in the Great Lakes with 345.67 points, followed by No. 2 Michigan (272.11), Ohio State, Wisconsin and Indiana State.

Wright, Manning Crack 60m Hurdle Top 25
Junior Letecia Wright and sophomore Christina Manning – with identical season-best and NCAA provisional times of 8.35 – currently hold the 23rd-best Division I 60m hurdle times in the country. The Baltimore, Md. natives sit atop the Big Ten in the same event, just a second ahead of Illinois junior Tamika Robinson.

The 4x400m relay team of Manning, Ashley Caldwell, Shaniqua McGinnis and Nyjah Cousar owns the 27th-best time in the country this season, an NCAA provisional run of 3:39.32, set at the New Balance Invitational Feb. 5. The foursome’s time is currently the third-best in the Big Ten behind Penn State (3:36.43) and Illinois (3:38.45).

Buckeyes Head to Penn State for Big Ten Championships Next Weekend
The 2010 Big Ten Indoor Women’s Track and Field Championships will be held at the Horace Ashenfelter III Multi-Sport Facility Feb. 27-28 in University Park, Pa. Single-session tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by calling the Penn State Athletics Ticket Office at 814-865-5555. Tickets are $7.00 each for adults and $5.00 each for students and youth.

Last Time Out
It was the Christina Manning show for the Ohio State women’s track and field team Feb. 13 at the Akron Invitational.

The Baltimore, Md. native put together perhaps the best overall performance of the indoor season for the Buckeyes, claiming three personal records, two titles and a runner-up finish on the Stile Field House track.

Although it wasn’t one of her two titles on the day, Manning’s best run came in the 60m hurdle championship, where she crossed the finish line with an NCAA provisional time of 8.35, the top time in the Big Ten this season (tied with teammate Letecia Wright), and a Top 25 time nationally.

Manning’s two wins came in the 60m and 200m dashes, where she recorded Top 5 Big Ten times. The sophomore ran a 7.53 – fourth-best in OSU indoor history – in the 60m preliminary round and claimed first-place with a 7.54 sprint. She followed that up with first-place time of 24.30 in the 200m, also fourth-best in school indoor history. Fellow Baltimore native Wright claimed fourth in the 60m (7.66), while Shaniqua McGinnis was second in the 200m (24.42, a PR).

McGinnis was nearly as impressive as Manning, claiming another runner-up in the 400m (54.86) to go along with second-place in the 200m. Seniors Latoya Sanderson (55.41) and Ashley Caldwell (55.42) finished third and fourth, respectively.

Rachael Mack enjoyed a successful day for the Buckeyes, posting two Top 2 finishes. The freshman from El Paso won the Gold Division long jump with a personal record mark of 5.93m (19-5.5, the fourth-best jump in the Big Ten this season). Kelcey McKinney used a leap of 5.83m (19-1.5) to take runner-up for Ohio State. Mack followed up her PR in the long jump with a second-place finish in the triple jump (Blue Division) at 11.48m (37-8).

Sophomore Maggie Mullen set a PR in the weight throw with a fifth-place toss of 18.64m (61-2), seventh-best in the Big Ten this season.

In the Gold Division high jump, Ashley Galbraith finished in second-place with a jump 1.68m (5-6). The junior just missed clearing the bar for a PR and win at 1.73m.

Up Next
Ohio State travels to University Park, Pa. for the 2010 Big Ten Indoor Championships, Feb. 27-28 on the campus of Penn State University.