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Oct. 28, 2004

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Columbus, Ohio — The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross country teams travel to Iowa City, Iowa Sunday, to compete in the 2004 Big Ten Championships. The event will take place at the Ashton Cross Country Course, the home to Iowa men’s and women’s cross country squads, which play host to the event. The race begins at 10:45 a.m. with the women’s 6-kilometer race followed by the men’s 8-kilometer.

Ashton Cross Country Course
The 2004 Big Ten Championships will be held at the University of Iowa Ashton Cross Country Course, the home for training and competition of the University of Iowa men’s and women’s cross country squads.

The course boasts a rolling terrain with a large grass area for training and racing and is able to accommodate races of 5,000, 6,000, 8,000 and 10,000 meters. Features include a 2,525-meter perimeter and layout that permits spectators to view, from one vantage point, the entire race from start to finish.

The Big Ten Conference and the Polls
The Big Ten championships, which begin Sunday feature some of the top teams in the country. On the men’s side, six teams from the Big Ten conference (Iowa, Michigan State, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin) are ranked in the Division I men’s cross country poll. On the women’s side, four teams reside in the Top 30 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State and Michigan).

Recapping the 2003 Big Ten Championships
The Ohio State State men’s and women’s cross country teams finished fourth and eighth, respectfully on a rain-soaked day at the 2003 Big Ten Cross Country Championships at Forest Akers East Golf Course on the campus of Michigan State University. The men finished the event with 93 points three points behind third-place Indiana, while the women finished with 197 points.

The men placed three runners in the Top 20 with an average team time of 24:45.6, while the women posted an average time of 22:19.9

Leading the way for the men was senior Rob Myers. Myers placed sixth overall in a time of 24:24.9 and earned 2003 First Team All-Big Ten honors.

Leading the way for the women was sophomore Chelsea Poling. Fresh off earning Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors, Poling paced the Buckeyes as she posted a time of 21:46.5 to finish 18th overall.

Scouting the Courses
Women’s 6,000-Meter Course
The Women’s 6,000m race will begin in the open field at the starting area designated on the map and will cover 475 meters before making a right turn and picking up the outer loop. The women will run two loops of the perimeter with each loop covering a distance of 2,525 meters. At the completion of the second loop the women will turn right and run 475 meters to the designated finish area. Markers will be provided at kilometers one through five and miles one through three. Arrows are provided on the map to designate the course the runners will follow.

Men’s 8,000-Meter Course
The Men’s 8,000m race will begin in the open field at the starting area designated on the map and will cover 475 meters before making a right turn and picking up the outer loop. The men will run two loops of the perimeter with each loop covering a distance of 2525 meters. At the completion of the second loop the men will turn right and run back towards the start/finish area before making a left turn and completing the back portion of the outer loop in a reverse direction. By running the back portion of the outer loop in a reverse direction the men will cover the remaining 2000 meters. Markers will be provided at kilometers one through seven and miles one through four. Arrows are provided on the map to designate the course the runners will follow.

Olinger Runs Away With All-Ohio
Junior Brian Olinger captured the individual crown at the 2004 All-Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships, during the event, Olinger finished the 8-kilometer race in a time of 25:28.5 to post his second Top 5 finish of the season.

Last Time Out
The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the 2004 Pre-National Championships, in Terre Haute, Ind. The Buckeye cross country teams finished the event, 15th and 32nd respectively, while competing at the at LaVern Gibson Championship Course. The event was hosted by Indiana State University.

The men’s team competed in the men’s white race and scored 387 points, while the women finished with 798 points in the women’s white race.

Junior Brian Olinger, paced the men’s team for the fourth-consecutive week in the 8-kilometer event as he finished 14th, with a season-best time of 24:15.1. Freshman John Ealy also turned in a season-best performance in the 8-kilometer run as he finished 36th, clocking a time 24:41.3.

On the woman’s side, Melanie Price paced the team as she finished the 6-kilometer event in a time of 22:14.6 to place 104th.

Stanford won the men’s white race with 77 points, while Colorado captured the woman’s white race with a total of 94 points.

Buckeyes Claim All-Ohio Championships
Earlier this seaon, the Ohio State men’s cross country team won its first race of the at the 2004 All-Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships. The men’s team captured the event with a score of 38 points, defeating second-place Cincinnati by 64 points.

So Close
The Ohio State women’s cross country team finished runner-up in the 2004 All-Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships for the second-consecutive season and just missed winning the event as they fell just two points behind first-place Kent State. Despite the second-place finish, the Buckeyes posted their first Top 5 finish of the season.

Olinger Claims Big Ten Runner of the Week Crown
Junior Brian Olinger earned Big Ten Runner of the Week honors after topping the field at the 2004 All-Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships to become the first Ohio State since runner since Dan Glaz in 2002 to capture the award. Olinger’s first-place finish in the event marked the first time since Ian Connor claimed the event in 1998. Olinger finished the race in a time of 25:28.5.

Keeping Pace With the Buckeyes
Brian Olinger – posted his best time of the season in a time of 24:15.1 where he finished 14th … won the 2004 All-Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships in a time of 25:28.5 to become the first OSU runner to claim the individual event since Ian Conner in 1998 … placed 13th at the 2004 Roy Griak Invitational … during the 8-kilometer event, he finished the race in a time of 24:44 … opened the season with a second-place finish at the 2004 Lou Onesty Invitational … finished the event just three seconds behind individual champion Josh McDougal in a time of 24:44.70.

John Ealy – finished 36th at the 2004 Pre-National Championships in a time of 24:41 … was one of four Buckeyes to finish in the Top 10 at the 2004 All-Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships … Ealy finished the event in a time of 25:56.5 to place third overall … finished in the Top 50 at the 2004 Roy Griak Invitational … clocked a time of 25:29 in the event and finished the event 49th overall … was one of three Buckeyes to finish in the Top 10 at the Lou Onesty Invitational … finished sixth in a time of 25:28.6.

Glenn Collins – finished 79th in a time of 25:18.3 at the 2004 Pre-National Championships … placed sixth at the 2004 All-Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships in a time of 26:07.5 … finished 48th 2004 Roy Griak Invitational just one spot ahead of teammate John Ealy … posted his best time of his collegiate career running a time of 25:29 improving 15 seconds from the previous week where he finished 10th at the Lou Onesty Invitational in a time of 25:44.1.

Matt Buzek – posted his best finish of the season at the 2004 All-Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships as he placed eighth in a time of 26:13.5 … opened the season with an impressive 15th-place finish at the Lou Onesty Invitational … during the race, Buzek finished in a time of 26:13.5.

Melanie Price – was one of three Buckeyes to finish in the Top 20 at the 2004 All-Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships … finished the event 15th in a time of 18:54.0 … paced the women’s squad at the Lou Onesty Invitational as she finished 17th in a time of 19:20.7 in the 6-kilometer run … Price’s time in the event, was her best mark since coming to Ohio State.

Chelsea Poling – finished 17th at the 2004 All-Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships in a time of 18:59.4 … paced the Buckeyes at the 2004 Roy Griak Invitational with a time of 22:52.0 in the 6-kilometer run, finishing 73rd.

Robyn Detty – placed fourth at the 2004 All-Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships to pace the squad finishing in a time of 18:28.9 … finished 100th overall at the Roy Griak Invitational in a time of 23:11.0.

2003 Cross Country Review
The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross-country teams both sported impressive seasons in 2003. The men’s team made tremendous strides in establishing itself as one of the top teams in the country as it qualified for the NCAA championships for the third time in four years under the direction of seventh-year head coach Robert Gary. The men also held down a No. 7 ranking in the NCAA Mondo Cross Country Poll for much of the 2003 season. The Buckeyes’ No. 7 ranking was the highest such ranking of any Ohio State cross country team. Ohio State was led by senior Rob Myers who earned First Team All-Big Ten accolades. The women’s team, under the direction of second-year head coach Chad Myers guided the Buckeyes to two first-place finishes and an eighth-place finish at the 2004 Big Ten Championships. The Buckeyes highlighted the season at the 2004 All-Ohio Invitational where they finished second among some of the top teams in the state. The women were led by senior Lyndsi Gay as she finished the season with four Top 10 finishes.

Meet Men’s Coach Robert Gary
A seasoned veteran in both cross country and track and field, head cross country coach Robert Gary is not only recognized as an accomplished athlete, but he also has established himself as one of the elite coaches in the Big Ten Conference. Now in his eighth season as Ohio State men’s cross country coach, Gary has taken the Buckeyes to new heights. During his tenure, Gary has guided the Buckeyes to the NCAA championships three times in the last four years and was named Ohio Cross Country Coach of the Year for the fourth consecutive year.

What sets Gary apart from other coaches is his innate ability to pass along his competitive drive and strong work ethic. While at Ohio State, Gary has coached four Ohio cross country runners of the year, numerous All-Big Ten selections and two All-Americans. Gary also thrives at coaching his athletes on the track.

As men’s distance coach for the track and field team, Gary has coached 10 All-Americans, 13 Big Ten champions including Rob Myers, who recently finished fourth at the 2004 United States Olympic Team Trails. Gary also has coached one Big Ten freshman of the year, two U.S. junior team members, one U.S. junior champion in the 10,000-meter run and he has coached a Big Ten champion in every distance event.

Academics also play a major role in Gary’s strategy, as he has coached two academic All-America teams (GPA over 3.0) and four academic All-America teams with distinction, while having two of his athletes nominated for the Big Ten Medal of Honor.

As an athlete, Gary qualified for his second Olympic team at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in Sacramento, Calif., while competing in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Gary also represented the United States in Atlanta as a member of the 1996 Olympic team in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. In the Olympic trials, he captured second place behind training partner and fellow Buckeye alum Mark Croghan. Gary recorded the eighth fastest time ever by an American in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. He is currently running for Adidas International.

Earlier in 2004, Gary was the top American finisher at the 2004 World Cross Country Championships, where he finished 33rd in a time of 12:12.0.

Meet Women’s Coach Chad Myers
The 2004 cross country season marks the third year at Ohio State for Chad Myers as coach of the women’s cross country team. In his first year, Myers spent the 2002 season assisting head cross country coach Robert Gary in taking the men’s and women’s cross country programs to new heights.

Last season, Myers continued to mold the women’s program into one of the top programs in the conference as he directed the Buckeyes to their best finish in the Big Ten since 1993. Ohio State also finished in first place on two different occasions during the 2003 season, while displaying an impressive second-place finish at the 2003 All-Ohio Invitational.

The addition of Myers in the fall of 2002 marked the beginning of Myers’ rebuilding phase for the women’s team, the squad Myers spent the most of his time with during the fall season. Under Myers’ guidance, the Ohio State women’s cross country team finished first at the Cincinnati Invitational and Notre Dame Invitational, while compiling a record of 45-19.

Cross country is not the only thing that has been on Myers’ mind. Since his arrival at Ohio State, seven of his runners have earned Academic All-Big Ten in his two years at the helm.

Prior to volunteering at Ohio State, Myers served three years as an assistant coach for the boys cross country team at Fairfield (Ohio) Union High School. He also served as the head distance coach for the boys track team.

During his tenure at Fairfield, Myers led the boys track and field program to two Top-10 finishes, two district championships and took the cross country program to several district and regional championships as well as two Top-12 finishes at the state meet.

As a competitor, Myers attended Otterbein College where served as captain of the cross country team from 1993-95. In 1994-95, Myers qualified for the national cross country meet and captured conference championship honors in the 10,000-meter run in 1996. Myers also was the All-Ohio 10,000-meter champion in 1994. In 1996, Myers was named the outstanding senior athlete for Otterbein College.

Up Next
The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross country teams return to action Saturday, Nov. 3, to compete in the 2004 NCAA Regional Championships in Ypsilanti, Mich.