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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s track and field team journeys west for an old-fashioned “shootout” this Saturday, April 2, at the Jim Click Shootout in Tucson, Ariz.

Hosted by the University of Arizona, Saturday’s invite will be the second scored contest in as many meets for the Buckeyes, who opened the 2011 outdoor campaign by leading the Big Ten to a 399-337 victory over the Southeastern Conference in the inaugural SEC/Big Ten Shootout March 26. No. 10 Minnesota, Arizona, Washington State, and the Buckeyes will battle for the title at Roy P. Drachman Stadium Saturday afternoon in a scored championship format – 10-8-6-4-2-1 for individual events and 10-8-6-4-2 for relays – with the winning team capturing the Jim Click championship trophy.

Prior to Saturday’s team competition, Heath Nickles and former OSU standout Patrick Woods will open compete Thursday and Friday in the decathlon. The rest of the Buckeyes will take to the track at approximately 11:00 a.m. ET Saturday for scored events.  A complete recap will be available at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com at the conclusion of each day.

Murdaugh Named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week
Junior All-American Thomas Murdaugh was named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week by the conference office March 30 after an impressive performance at the SEC/Big Ten Challenge.

Murdaugh turned in the performance of the meet in Starkville last Saturday, upsetting Mississippi State All-American Tavaris Tate in the 400m with a time of 46.41, the fourth-fastest time in the nation so far this outdoor season. The Dublin, Ohio, native also anchored the Buckeye 4x400m relay team to a second-place finish in 3:07.73, a Top 10 performance nationally. In all, Murdaugh contributed a total of 18 points toward the Big Ten’s cumulative point total, helping the conference to a 399-337 victory over the SEC in the inaugural conference clash.

Ohio State Opens Season at No. 43 in USTFCCCA Rankings
The Ohio State men’s track and field team checks-in at No. 43 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s preseason rankings, released March 21.

In all, five Big Ten teams are ranked among the preseason Top 50, led by 10th-ranked Minnesota. Penn State sits just outside the Top 25 at No. 27, followed by No. 35 Indiana, No. 42 Illinois and the Buckeyes. Florida is the top-ranked team in the nation, with Texas A&M and Texas Tech rounding out the Top 3. Future Big Ten member Nebraska is ranked ninth.

Buckeyes in the Individual Top 25 Rankings
Five 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:

  • Thomas Murdaugh – No. 4 in the 400m and No. 7 in the 4x400m relay
  • Aaron Roberts – No. 7 in the 4x400m relay
  • Korbin Smith – No. 7 in the 4x400m relay
  • Marvel Brooks – No. 7 in the 4x400m relay
  • Michael Hartfield – No. 15 in the long jump

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, USA Juniors Finish Eighth at World Cross Country Championships
OSU head coach Robert Gary and the United States junior cross country team finished in eighth-place Sunday at the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbria, Spain.

Totaling a team score of 153, the U.S. was led by Craig Lutz and Ammar Moussa. Lutz crossed the finish line in 29th, followed close behind 32nd-place Moussa. The Top 5 Americans all finished within the Top 60 overall.

Former Buckeye Brian Olinger competed for the men’s senior team, finishing 75th overall. As a team, the United States finished 10th, led by 36th-place finisher Ben True.

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, USA Track and Field announced last month.

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.

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 “J.O. 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.

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 regionals 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 and the Big Ten Conference posted a 399-337 victory over the Southeastern Conference Saturday afternoon in the inaugural SEC/Big Ten Challenge, held at Mississippi State’s newly-renovated Carl Maddox Track.

The Big Ten used balance to defeat its southern rivals, dominating in the field events and distance competition. Ohio State collected five individual titles and contributed a meet high 117 points toward the final conference point total.

Some highlights:

  • Thomas Murdaugh, Marvel Brooks and Korbin Smith helped the Buckeyes amass 15 points for the conference in the 400m. Murdaugh was the champion in 46.41, while Brooks finished sixth in 48.07, just ahead of seventh-place Smith (48.08).
  • A leap of 7.41m (24-3.75) helped junior Michael Hartfield to 10 points and the long jump title.
  • Buckeye throwers contributed 15 points toward the conference score in the hammer throw. Max Mays captured first-place with a toss of 58.77m (192-10), while Billy Gehring finished fourth at 56.99m (187 ft.).
  • Will Lauricella impressed in his Buckeye debut, setting a PR and collecting 10 points with his first-place mark of 61.36m (201-4) in the javelin.
  • Ohio State turned in a pair of Top 4 finishes in the 800m, capturing 15 valuable points as a result. Jared Hall recorded a first-place time of 1:52.43, while Jake Hiltner finished fourth in 1:54.04.
  • OSU’s 4x400m relay team finished second in a time of 3:07.73.

Up Next
The Buckeyes have a week off before traveling to Ann Arbor, Mich., for “The Dual” with the Wolverines.