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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s track and field team travels to Ann Arbor, Mich. Jan. 16 for a battle with rival Michigan in “The Dual.”

Saturday is the fifth meeting of a six-meet, three-year agreement between the border rivals, with the Wolverines hosting the indoor event each year and the Buckeyes the outdoor.  “The Dual” traveling pennant is awarded to the winning team, who holds onto it until the next match-up.

With the all-time Dual series tied 2-2, the Big Ten powers will look to jump start their 2010 seasons with a win Saturday afternoon. The two teams earned a split in 2009 – Ohio State upset No. 17 Michigan in Ann Arbor, 85-77, at the indoor meet, while the Wolverines edged the Buckeyes in Columbus during the outdoor season.

Competition begins at noon ET inside the U-M Indoor Track Building. A complete recap will be available after the meet at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.  

Scouting Michigan
The Wolverines are led by second-year coach Fred LaPlante, a 12-year veteran of the program. Before taking the head coaching position last season, LaPlante spent 11 seasons as the associate head coach, responsible for the development of the sprint and hurdle program. A look at the Wolverines’ top athletes headed into 2010:

Carl Buchanon – Buchanon was the 2009 Big Ten outdoor champion in the 400m hurdles, finishing 23rd in the same event at the NCAA championships … holds collegiate-best times of 7.97 (60m hurdles), 14.27 (110m hurdles) and 50.82 (400m hurdles).

Sean Pruitt – Pruitt was 2009 Big Ten indoor champion in the weight throw, following that performance up with a 14th-place finish at the NCAA championships … recorded a second-place finish in the hammer throw at the outdoor conference finals … holds the UM school records in both the weight throw and hammer throw.

Brandon Fellows – One of the Wolverines top distance runners, Fellows was a member of Michigan’s Big Ten champion distance medley squad … finished 14th in the 5000m run at the 2009 Mideast Regional Championships.

The Dual on BTN
The Big Ten Network will broadcast The Dual on tape delay Jan. 23 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Matt Shepard (play by play) and Luke Watson (color commentary) will be on hand to call the action.

Murdaugh Named Big Ten Runner of the Week
Ohio State sophomore sprinter Thomas Murdaugh was named the Big Ten Runner of the Week Jan. 11 by the Big Ten Conference after his impressive season-opening performance at the Buckeye Classic.

The 2009 All-American opened his second year in Columbus with a dominating victory in the 400m dash – his winning time of 48.25 (an NCAA provisional qualifier) was almost a full second better than the second-place finisher. Murdaugh wrapped the competition by anchoring Ohio State’s 4x400m relay team to a first-place time of 3:15.06.

A native of Dublin, Ohio, Murdaugh enjoyed a breakout freshman season in 2009, competing in the 400m at both the indoor and outdoor national championships while earning All-American honors during the outdoor season. Murdaugh was also the anchor of two Big Ten champion 4x400m relay teams in 2009.

2009 Indoor Dual Recap
The Ohio State men’s track and field team put on an emotional and all-around impressive performance in defeating 17th-ranked Michigan, 85-77, Jan. 17, 2009 at the indoor “Dual.”

Notable highlights included Jeff See’s double win in the mile and 3000m runs, Stephen Robinson’s upset of former Wolverine All-American Adam Harris in the 200m, Brandon Woodard’s win in the 600m, 2009 graduate Patrick Whalen’s win in the shot put and second-place finish in the weight throw, and Thomas Murdaugh’s win in the 400m.

See was dominant in the mile run, winning in a time of 4:06.39. He was followed by freshman Cory Leslie who came in second at 4:10.23. See then outlasted Sean McNamara of Michigan in the 3000m run, finishing first and setting a Dual meet record with a time of 8:11.39.

Whalen won the shot put for the second year in a row with a toss of 17.36m, defeating second-place Sean Pruitt (16.77m).

Robinson and Harris had quite an afternoon, battling neck and neck in the 60 and 200m dashes. Harris would edge Robinson in the 60m by .02 seconds, but Robinson rebounded in the 200m to upset the All-American and tied the 16-year-old Dual meet record in the process with a time of 21.68. Harris came in at 21.69.

Murdaugh teamed up with former Buckeye Matt Comer to take first and second in the 400m dash with times of 48.84 and 49.14, respectively.

Topping off an impressive afternoon for the Buckeyes was the winning 4x400m relay team (3:17.10) of Woodard, Elon Simms, Robinson and Murdaugh.

Last Time Out
French Field House re-opened its doors Jan. 9 as the Ohio State men’s track and field team opened the 2010 season at the Buckeye Classic.

While Thomas Murdaugh may have been the star of the show, a number of freshmen and returning veterans provided the crowd with plenty of entertainment. Some of the highlights from the meet:

  • Freshman Derek Blevins opened his Buckeye career with a first-place finish in the long jump. The Raytown, Mo. native’s jump of 7.13m (23-4.75) edged fellow OSU freshman Korbin Smith (6.79m/22-3.50). Blevins followed up his win in the long jump with a victory in the triple jump (14.64m/48-0.5).
  • Buckeye senior Brandon Woodard won the 600m run with a time of 1:20.96. Elon Simms, returning from injured-plagued 2009, opened up 2010 with a solid second-place effort of 1:21.02.
  • Curtis Leuenberger was the champion in the 200m dash with a time of 21.97.
  • A run of 8:22.86 earned redshirt freshman Cory Leslie a victory in the 3000m run. Chad Balyo gave Leslie a run for his money, but was unable to pull out the win, instead settling for second in 8:23.64.
  • Daniel White opened the season with a win in the mile run, crossing the finish line in 4:13.39.
  • Clearing the bar at 2.00m (6-6.75), senior Ryan Blake managed a first-place finish in the high jump.
  • Redshirt freshman Heath Nickles finished first in the pole vault, vaulting to 4.70m (15-5). Alan Dague, a junior from Galloway, Ohio, was second.
  • Ohio State’s 4x400m relay teams went one-two to close out the day’s events. The team of Stephen Robinson, Woodard, Simms and Murdaugh claimed the title with a time of 3:15.06, while Marvel Brooks, Marcus Brooks, Jared Hall and Rob Baisden finished second in 3:16.81.

Up Next
The Buckeyes will take a week off before returning to the track Jan. 29 at the Penn State National Invitational in University Park, Pa.