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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 23rd-ranked Ohio State men’s track and field team travels to University Park, Pa., this weekend for the Penn State National Invitational.

The Friday-Saturday invite at Penn State is one of the nation’s most respected Division I indoor competitions, regularly drawing some of collegiate track and field’s best teams and athletes. The Buckeyes will be competing at the invitational for the third year in a row and for the fourth time in five seasons.

Events at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track are scheduled to begin at approximately 5:45 p.m. ET Friday and 9:30 a.m. ET Saturday. Live scoring will be available throughout the meet at www.GoPSUSports.com, with a complete recap available at the conclusion of Friday and Saturday’s proceedings at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com. 

Notable Teams at the National Invite
No. 6 Virginia Tech
No. 10 Penn State
Central Florida
Clemson
Georgetown
Tennessee
West Virginia

Scarlet and Gray No. 23 in Latest USTFCCCA Rankings
Ohio State checked-in at No. 23 in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Top 25, released January 25.

Four Big Ten teams are featured in the Top 25, with No. 7 Indiana leading the way, followed by No. 10 Penn State, No. 15 Minnesota, and the Buckeyes. LSU is the top-ranked team in the nation, followed by No. 2 Florida and third-ranked Texas A&M.

“I am very pleased with our ranking,” Ohio State head coach Robert Gary said of his team’s inclusion in the Top 25. “We always want to be at the top of the conference as well as a Top 25 program. That being said, my staff and our student-athletes pride ourselves on being prepared for championship season, and we still have a long way to go until then!”

OSU Well Represented in Individual Top 25 Rankings
Thirteen 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. 1 in the 400m, No. 9 in the 4x400m relay
Matt DeChant – No. 2 in the shot put
Max Mays – No. 4 in the weight throw
Chris Fallon – No. 6 in the DMR
Adam Green – No. 6 in the DMR, No. 21 in the 3000m
Aaron Roberts – No. 6 in the DMR, No. 9 in the 4x400m relay
Jared Hall – No. 6 in the DMR
Michael Hartfield – No. 8 in the long jump
Korbin Smith – No. 9 in the 4x400m relay, and No. 20 in the heptathlon
Marcus Brooks – No. 9 in the 4x400m relay
Cory Leslie – No. 13 in the mile, No. 14 in the 800m, No. 25 in the 3000m
Heath Nickles – No. 14 in the heptathlon
Tyler Branch – No. 20 in the shot put

Did You Know?

  • Ohio State head coach Robert Gary set the Ashenfelter Indoor Track record time in the 3000m run (7:58.51) as a competitor for Adidas in 2000.
  • Former Buckeyes hold several records at Ashenfelter: NCAA champion Dan Taylor holds the top recorded distance in the weight throw (22.66m), while Andrew Pierce owns the track record in the 400m (45.56). In addition, the 2001 4x400m relay team’s run of 3:07.78 remains atop the PSU record books.

Buckeyes Rack Up 565 Hours of Community Service for Fall Quarter
The Ohio State men’s track and team was hard at work off the track in the Greater Columbus area this past fall, contributing 536 total hours of community service to local organizations and charities.

All 56 team members completed at least 8 hours of volunteer work during fall quarter, with 18 student-athletes contributing 12 or more hours to local communities. Of special mention is the work done by junior Taylor Williams, who completed over 20 hours as a volunteer tutor.

Participating organizations included:

  • Second and Seven
  • Operation Buckeye
  • Life Care Alliance
  • Mid-Ohio Food Bank
  • Lima Food Bank
  • City Life Center
  • Various mentoring programs

In addition, the team continued its volunteer efforts for the third-consecutive year with Fifth Avenue Elementary, where Buckeye student-athletes serve as mentors.

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

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.   

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 Jeff 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 captured the 2011 All-Ohio Indoor Track and Field Championship Jan. 22 at the Kent State Field House. With a combined score of 161, the Buckeyes finished 23 points ahead of second place Akron (138) and 57 ahead of third place Kent State (104).

Junior transfer Michael Hartfield continued his hot start, claiming a pair of victories in the long and triple jumps, scoring 20 points for the Buckeyes in those two events. Ohio State also dominated in the mile and 3000m runs, scoring a total of 32 points with first and third place finishes by Adam Green and Will Knickel in the mile and Cory Leslie and Chris Fallon in the 3000m. The Scarlet and Gray also posted a pair of wins in the 4x400m relay and the distance medley.

“I thought the guys competed real well,” head coach Robert Gary said after the meet. “Coming off the Dual was asking a lot physically and emotionally, but the team responded well. Kent State did a very nice job hosting the meet. Even though we rested a couple guys and tried some off events, we got some solid performances.”

Up Next
Ohio State will compete at the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational Feb. 4-5 in South Bend, Ind.