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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The greatest rivalry in college sports returns to the track this Sunday, April 17, as Ohio State and Michigan meet in Ann Arbor, Mich., for their second dual meet of the 2011 season.

A rivalry that dates back to 1903, Ohio State and Michigan launched “The Dual” – a concept unique to collegiate track and field – in 2008, with the squads facing each other twice during both the indoor and outdoor seasons. The teams compete for “The Dual” banner, a pendant that is split with the Maize and Blue of Michigan and the Scarlet and Gray of Ohio State. Per tradition, the winning team will take the banner on a victory lap around the oval.

The Buckeyes picked up their third-consecutive win over UM at French Field House in January and own a 5-2 advantage over the Wolverines since the inception of “The Dual” in 2008. All-time, Michigan holds a 48-17 edge over the Buckeyes in dual meets, including a 28-11 mark outdoors.

Events from historic Ferry Field – the site of Jesse Owens’ record-setting performance at the 1935 Big Ten championships – are set to begin with the hammer throw at 11 a.m. ET. A complete recap will be available after the meet at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.  

Scouting Michigan
The Wolverines are led by third-year coach Fred LaPlante, a 12-year veteran of the program. Before taking over the head coaching position in Ann Arbor, LaPlante spent 11 seasons as associate head coach, responsible for the development of the sprint and hurdle program. Here’s a quick look at the Wolverines’ top athletes:

Robert Peddlar – A jumps specialist, Peddlar won the long jump at the 2010 Big Ten Indoor Championships in the long jump and has finished in the Top 10 in the triple jump at the last five conference meets … holds PRs of  7.58m/24-10.50 (long jump) and 15.34m/50-4 (triple jump).

Craig Forys – An emerging distance star, Forys finished fifth in the 3000m run at the 2011 Big Ten Indoor Championships and fourth in the steeplechase at the 2010 outdoor championships. A native of Howell, N.J., Forys is a two-time All-Big Ten selection in cross country and a three-time national championship participant … owns PRs of 8:04.31 (3000m), 8:48.18 (3000m steeplechase) and 13:54.48 (5000m).

2011 Indoor Dual – Ohio State 88, Michigan 74
Fueled by a raucous home crowd and a host of record-setting performances, the Ohio State men’s track and field team defeated rival Michigan 88-74 in “The Dual” January 15 at French Field House.

A number of Buckeyes turned in impressive individual efforts. Michael Hartfield wowed the home crowd in his Buckeye debut, capturing a pair of wins in both the long jump and triple jump. Matt DeChant set a personal best in the shot put (19.44m/63-9.50), while Cody Marshall also set a PR in the pole vault (5.00m/16-4.75). Thomas Murdaugh was also strong in his first meet of the season, winning handily in the 400m and anchoring the 4x400m relay team to victory. As a team, the Buckeyes captured wins in nine out of 15 events.

Buckeyes Check-in at No. 39 in USTFCCCA National Rankings, Second Regionally
The Ohio State men’s track and field team dropped two spots to No. 39 in the April 12 edition of U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s national team rankings.

In all, just three Big Ten teams are ranked among the national Top 50, led by 13th-ranked Minnesota. Penn State sits just outside the Top 25 at No. 29, followed by the Buckeyes. Florida is the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, with Texas A&M and Texas Tech rounding out the Top 3. Future Big Ten member Nebraska is ranked 10th.

The Buckeyes fair better in the Great Lakes regional rankings, where they are currently second behind Indiana. Notre Dame is ranked third, followed by Akron and Michigan.

OSU in the Individual Top 25 Rankings
Nine 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:

Michael Hartfield – No. 4 in the long jump and No. 16 in the triple jump
Thomas Murdaugh – No. 8 in the 400m and No. 20 in the 4x400m relay
Korbin Smith – No. 12 in the long jump and No. 20 in the 4x400m relay
Heath Nickles – No. 14 in the decathlon
Matt DeChant – No. 16 in the shot put
Marcus Brooks – No. 20 in the 400m hurdles
Marvel Brooks – No. 20 in the 4x400m relay
Aaron Roberts – No. 20 in the 4x400m relay
Max Mays – No. 24 in the hammer throw

Jesse Owens Track Classic Set for April 23
Athletes from all levels, including individuals from more than 35 colleges are scheduled to compete at the 26th Jesse Owens Track Classic April 23-24.

Like the classics of the past, the 2011 edition will serve as a stage for scholastic, collegiate and post-collegiate athletes to perform at their highest levels in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. In its history, the Jesse Owens Track Classic has served as a top venue for many future and former Olympians. Current and past record holders for the Jesse Owens Track Classic include Olympic medalists John Drummond, Michelle Finn, Allen Johnson, Edwin Moses, Dwight Stones and former Buckeyes Diane Dixon, Joe Greene and Butch Reynolds. Others of Olympic fame include Judi Brown, Roger Kingdom, Carl Lewis, Louise Ritter and Calvin Smith, as well as past OSU Olympians Mark Croghan and Stephanie Hightower.

Jesse Owens 75th Anniversary Celebration, April 21-24
The Ohio State University is proud to lead the celebration of Jesse Owens’ legacy on the 75th anniversary of his stellar performance in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany.

The Jesse Owens 75th Anniversary Celebration will take place April 21-24, in conjunction with Ohio State’s spring football game and the 26th Jesse Owens Track Classic. Through this celebration, the University will honor the memory of Jesse Owens and his trailblazing life that links us as Americans and inspires us to achieve greatness.

A scholarship dinner banquet April 21 in the new Ohio Union Archie Griffin Ballroom will gather nationally recognized speakers – including actor/comedian Bill Cosby – prominent corporate and community leaders, members of the Ohio State community and members of Owens’ beloved family. The event will be emceed by ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap, family friend and author of the book Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics. Tickets for the dinner – scheduled for 7:00 p.m. – are available for $125. To purchase tickets online, visit go.osu.edu/jesseowens. A PDF form is available for download that can be printed and mailed back to purchase tickets and sponsorships. All proceeds from the dinner will be used to support the Ruth and Jesse Owens Scholars Program and the Ohio State men’s and women’s track programs.

The University will also host a statue unveiling prior to the scholarship dinner on the 21st at 1:30 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. For more information on all events and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.osu.edu/jesseowens.

Owens Exhibition at Thompson Library: April 12-May 2
The Ohio State University Archives has created a display of Jesse Owens’ artifacts, photographs, and documents that highlight each stage of the Olympian’s historic life: his youth in Cleveland, his relationship to OSU as a student and life-time Buckeye, his record as an Olympic athlete, and his service as an ambassador to the world. Students, faculty, staff, and the public are invited to come see the limited time exhibition – which includes artifacts such as Owens’ Olympic diary, his bronzed shoe from 1935, and his Congressional Gold Medal – at the William Oxley Thompson Library April 12-May 2.

The exhibition is located in the Thompson Library display area on the first floor outside the Gallery. The library is open Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.; Friday 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.; Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.; Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Gary, Buckeyes Ink 12 Student-Athletes for 2011-2012
Ohio State track and field and cross country head coach Robert Gary announced the signing of 12 student-athletes for the 2011-2012 academic year March 23. Heavy on distance runners and hurdlers, the well-balanced class also features talented athletes in the jumps, throws and sprints.

“I absolutely believe Ohio is a Top 5 overall state in the country for track and field and cross country recruiting,” Gary said of his 2011 recruiting class. “I think it is a great recipe if you can attract the best talent in Ohio and also find the developmental projects of recruits from Ohio who know what The Ohio State University is all about and already have a great love and sense of pride towards Buckeye Nation.”

In all, the Buckeyes will welcome 10 Ohio products and two accomplished out-of-state prospects to campus next fall, and coaches are hopeful that the team will add even more talent before the end of the signing period. Meet the future Buckeyes:

  • Michael Brajdic // Distance – Bay Village, Ohio – Bay Village
  • Antonio Blanks // Sprints/Hurdles – Dayton, Ohio – Dunbar
  • Josh Sabo // Mid-Distance – Richfield, Ohio – Revere
  • Curtis Hanle // Distance – Louisville, Ohio – Louisville
  • Jeff Hannaford // Distance – Westerville, Ohio – North
  • Brian Hannaford // Distance – Westerville, Ohio – North
  • Michael Bennett // Throws – Centerville, Ohio – Centerville
  • Derrick Anderson // Hurdles – Arlington, Texas – Mansfield Timberview
  • Brad Hess // Distance – Fort Wayne, Ind. – Carroll
  • Luke Norris // Hurdles – Lebanon, Ohio – Lebanon
  • Tyler Parrish // High Jump – Amherst, Ohio – Amherst Steele
  • Jc Murasky // Throws – Zanesville, Ohio – Maysville

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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.
     
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 regional finals 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 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
The Ohio State men’s track and field team collected seven individual titles on its way to a first-place finish April 2 at the Jim Click Shootout at the University of Arizona’s Roy P. Drachman Stadium.

With a total score of 161, the Buckeyes edged Big Ten rival and 10th-ranked Minnesota for the team title in a closely contested meet. The Gophers (157 points) finished one point ahead of third-place Arizona, while Washington State placed fourth with 151 points.

Junior All-Americans Michael Hartfield and Thomas Murdaugh led the Buckeye charge. Hartfield earned titles in both the long jump and triple jump, while Murdaugh captured wins in the 400m and as the anchor of Ohio State’s 4x400m relay team.

Other highlights:

  • Ohio State posted a dominating 1-2-3 finish in the long jump, led by Hartfield’s first-place and PR jump of 7.91m (25-11). Korbin Smith (7.65m/25-1.25) and Derek Blevins (7.48m/24-6.50) also set PRs, finishing second and third, respectively — all three Buckeyes currently sit in the Top 15 nationally in the event, with Hartfield holding the top spot. Stephen MacDonald also recorded a PR, finishing seventh at 7.37m (24-2.25).
  • The Buckeyes went 1-2 in the 400m, with Murdaugh recording a Top 5 national time of 45.81 to take the title. Marvel Brooks’ runner-up sprint of 47.44 was a PR.
  • A PR of 61.85m (202-11) — the fifth-best throw in OSU history and Top 20 mark nationally — helped Max Mays to a win in the hammer.
  • Freshman Will Lauricella remained undefeated as a Buckeye, posting a PR of 62.89m (206-4) to capture first-place in the javelin for the second-consecutive week.
  • Jake Edwards finished first in the 1500m with a time of 3:50.64, edging second-place finisher Stephen Sambu of Arizona (3:50.93) at the finish line.
  • Heath Nickles finished third in the decathlon with a personal best score of 7078, the second-best Division I point total this season.

Up Next
Ohio State travels to Bloomington, Ind., for the Polytan Invitational April 21 before returning to Columbus to host the 26th Jesse Owens Track Classic April 23-24.