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April 5, 2000

COLUMBUS, Ohio –

Buckeyes Ready for California

The Ohio State Track and Field Teams will take 16 members to Berkeley Calif. for the third-annual Brutus Hamilton Memorial Invitational on Friday and Saturday April 7-8 at the newly renovated Edwards Stadium/Goldman Field. Competition begins Friday at 2 p.m. with the men’s and women’s hammer throw. Saturday’s competition begins at 9 a.m. with the women’s javelin and running events beginning at noon. The Buckeyes will be competing against 13 schools including the University of California, Southern California, Washington, Stanford, Wake Forest, Boise State, Idaho and Nevada plus several members of the Taiwan and Japan National teams and other national level athletes from California. The teams will have the advantage of a newly renovated track to propel them to faster times. The Edwards Stadium/Goldman Field has been under construction for the past year and is now complete for this season. The $3.5 million renovation included a new polyurethane all-weather surface and reconfiguration of the 400-meter oval with 85-meter straightaways. An official track dedication will be held prior to the first running event on Saturday. The Buckeyes not traveling to California will compete against Kent State, Ashland and Youngstown State at the Youngstown State University Invitational on Saturday, April 8.

Focused on NCAA Qualifying Marks

The Buckeyes’ goals for this weekend are to achieve NCAA qualifying times. “Our goal is to get as many of our athletes qualified for the NCAA Championships,” Russ Rogers, head coach said. “We especially want to get our relay teams qualified, so a strong focus has been placed on strengthening the men’s and women’s 4×100 and 4×400-meter relay teams. With their new track and some good weather, I think we have a good chance at achieving qualifying times.” The men’s 4×400 relay team is composed of Courtney Cornwall (Jr., Inwood, N.Y./ Lawrence), Joel Brown (Fr., Baltimore, Mar./Woodlawn), Thomas Dickson (Jr., Newark, N.J.) and is anchored by Andrew Pierce (Jr., Yellow Springs, Ohio/Yellow Springs). The team has already provisionally qualified with a time of 3:06.96. The women’s 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams will be competing for the first time this season. CarylAnn Reece (Sr., Bronx, N.Y./George Washington) is back for her final outdoor season, and is adding her strength and speed to the 4×400 relay team. Donica Merriman (Jr., Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison), Dominque Calloway (Sr., Auroa, Colo./Denver South) and Nicholette Chambers (Fr., New Haven, Conn./James Hillhouse) are the other members of the relay. In the first outdoor meet of the season, three Buckeyes in addition to the men’s 4×400 relay team earned NCAA qualifying times at the Baldy Castillo Invitational. Merriman and Calloway earned automatic qualifying times in the 100-meter hurdles. Merriman provisionally qualified in the 200-meter dash and Calloway in the 400-meter hurdles. Pierce provisionally qualified in the 400-meter dash.

Recap from Season Opener

The track and field teams began their outdoor season March 24-25 at the Baldy Castillo Invitational in Tempe, Az. Over 10 schools competed in the Invitationalgiving the Buckeyes many levels of competition. The teams trained in Tempe the week prior to the invitational helping them adjust to their outdoor events. The results of their hard work showed in their success at the Invitational. Donica Merriman, Dominque Calloway, Andrew Pierce and the men’s 4×400 relay team all showed outstanding performances by earning NCAA qualifying marks. Merriman and Calloway earned automatic qualifying times of 12.97 and 13.07 in the 100 hurdles and Merriman also provisionally qualified in the 200 (23.28) and Calloway provisionally qualified in the 400 hurdles (57.98). Pierce provisionally qualified in the 400 with a time of 45.69 and he also anchored the men’s 4×400 relay team which provisionally qualified with a time of 3:06.96. The Buckeyes showed strength in other areas including the 800-meter dash with freshman Mandy Osmond placing second (2:11.98) and Rachel Zukowski earned fourth in the pole vault (11’07-3/4″). For the men, Courtney Cornwall placed second in the 400 hurdles (52.25), Joel Brown placed sixth in the 110-meter high hurdles (14.77), Marcus Harris placed fifth in the 800 meter run (1:55.29) and Rob Myers finished the 800 meter dash with a solid time of 1:50.08. Overall head coach Russ Rogers was pleased. “We had a good week of practice and I was pleased with our performance,” Rogers said. “I am very proud of Donica, Dominique, Andrew and our men’s 4×400 for their efforts.”

Meet the Coach

In his 12 years at Ohio State, Russ Rogers has produced 100 Big Ten indoor and outdoor track and field champions, ten NCAA indoor and outdoor champions and 65 All-Americans. His 1993 teams alone produced 16 All-Americans and 12 Big Ten champions in both indoor and outdoor events. Rogers was recently chosen as the head coach of the national team that participated in the 1999 World Indoor Championships in Macbashi, Japan. Rogers has more than 30 years of head coaching experience in national and international track and field. His most recent experience was with the U.S. team at the 1994 Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia. He was also the 1988 sprint coach for the U.S. Olympic Team which competed in Seoul, Korea, the 1987 coach of the World University Games team, the 1985-86 head coach of the U.S. track team and has numerous other coaching credentials. Rogers came to Ohio State from Fairleigh Dickinson University, located in Teaneck, N.J., where he was the head coach for both the men’s and women’s track and field and cross country teams for 10 years.

Next Week’s Action

Next week the Buckeyes travel to Tallahasse, Fla. to compete in Florida State’s Invitational on April 15-16.