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July 28, 2005

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Brian Olinger, a senior distance runner for the Ohio State men’s track and field team, became just the second American collegiate athlete to break the 8:20 mark in the 3,000-meter steeplechase last Saturday at the KBC Night of Athletics in Heusden, Belgium. The product of Fresno, Ohio raced to an 11th-place finish in the international field with a personal-best 8:19.56.

Olinger placed behind USA teammate Steve Slattery, who clocked 8:17.87. Olinger and Slattery are just the third Americans to break the 8:20 mark this season. Dan Lincoln, the two-time defending U.S. champion, holds the best mark this year at 8:17.27.

“The KBC was a phenomenal meet,” Olinger said. “To run in an event at the highest level of competition was an experience in itself. To run an 8:19 at such an event opened up my eyes as to where I can potentially go in this sport in the future.”

Olinger’s time ranks second in the Ohio State record book behind three-time Olympian Mark Croghan (1988-91), who paced an 8:10.69 during the 1991 season. Croghan’s mark also serves as the Big Ten steeple standard. The NCAA record in the steeple is held by Henry Rono of Washington, when the Kenyan ran an 8:05.4 in 1978.

The Belgian meet serves as another outstanding outing for Olinger, who is having a career year. During the 2004 cross country season, he gained All-America honors with a 21st-place finish in the nation. The indoor track campaign saw the Ridgewood High School grad set the OSU record in the 5,000-meter run en route to All-America honors in that event at the 2005 NCAA’s in March.

Despite redshirting the 2005 outdoor collegiate season, Olinger qualified for the 2005 USA Track and Field National Championships in June, where he finished fourth in the steeple with a then career-best time of 8:28.44.

Robert Gary, Ohio State’s cross country head coach and track and field distance coach, decided to redshirt Olinger during the outdoor season so he could solely concentrate on the steeple.

“The main reason I wanted to red-shirt Brian this spring was to stress the importance of getting to the next level in the steeple,” Gary, who Olinger passed on the all-time OSU performance list with his time at Heusden, said. “Finishing fourth at USATF’s and then running sub-8:20 in Europe later into the summer were the only focuses we had. I believe Brian will be among the favorites for the 2006 NCAA steeplechase title and getting a later start for cross country is a very small price to pay in my mind. His development towards making the Olympic team in 2008 is the number one priority.”

KBC Night of Athletics – Heusden, Belgium

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Official Result Men – 3000-Meter Steeplechase

Athlete Nation Time

1. Kipkirui Misoi KEN 8:08.15

2. David Chemweno KEN 8:09.09

3. Martin Pröll AUT 8:13.74

4. Linus Chumba KEN 8:15.57

5. Simon Vroemen NED 8:15.85

6. Mubarak Taher Tareq BRN 8:16.26

7. Richard Matelong KEN 8:16.35

8. Wesley Kiprotich KEN 8:16.73

9. Krijn van Koolwijk BEL 8:17.11

10. Steve Slattery USA 8:17.87

11. Brian Olinger USA 8:19.56