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Buckeye sprinters and hurdlers explode; Gray and Galbraith turn in 2-3 finish in the pentathlon

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Ohio State women’s track and field team is currently in fourth-place after day one of competition at the 2011 Big Ten Indoor Championships at Purdue University’s Lambert Field House.

Ohio State’s sprinters and hurdlers were outstanding on opening day, as the Buckeyes captured 12 positions in four championship races set for tomorrow afternoon, setting the team up for major points – Letecia Wright, Christina Manning, Madison McNary, Chesna Sykes, Christienne Linton all qualified for multiple runs at the Big Ten title Sunday.

In the 60m dash, four Buckeyes stepped onto the track to run and all four made it to Sunday’s final. Manning lit up the track, finishing first in a PR of 7.31, the fastest time in Ohio State history and a Top 20 time in the nation. Finishing second with the third-fastest time in school history and a Top 25 Division I time was McNary, whose time of 7.35 is also a new personal record. Manning and McNary both ran times faster than Penn State All-American Shavon Greaves, who entered the meet a 10-time Big Ten champion. Greaves took third in 7.35, just ahead of Sykes (7.42) and Linton (7.50), who ran personal record times to finish fifth and seventh, respectively. Sykes also earned her way into the OSU record books with the fourth-best time in school history.

Perhaps the strongest performance in a race came from Wright, who led a dominating 60m hurdling trio for the Buckeyes. Running an NCAA automatic qualifying and personal best time of 8.11, Wright posted the fastest time in prelims, the third-best time in Ohio State history and the third-fastest time in the nation this season. Manning was the runner-up behind her Maryland counterpart in a time of 8.14, the fifth-best time in Division I this season and just off of her personal record and season-best mark. Linton will also represent the Buckeyes in tomorrow’s finals, as the sophomore shattered her previous PR with her sixth-place time of 8.37.

The 200m marked yet another strong showing by Ohio State sprinters, with three Buckeyes punching tickets to the championship race. Manning took second in 24.27, with McNary close behind running a 24.33 for third. Also qualifying for the finals was Wright, who crossed the finish line in ninth-place with a 24.57. Greaves set a new facility record of 23.81 to take first for Penn State.

With a total of 25 team points after day one, the Buckeyes have positioned themselves well for a big day two. Indiana currently sits in first-place with 46 points, followed by Minnesota (39), Purdue (31) and the Buckeyes.

Here are more highlights from day one of the Big Ten indoor championships for OSU:

Pentathlon
Alana Gray had a stellar performance for Ohio State in the pentathlon, capturing second-place and collecting the fifth-most points in school history (3711). Ashley Galbraith finished just behind Gray, taking third with a PR score of 3708, sixth-best in school history. Gray won the 60m hurdles section of the pentathlon and Galbraith won the long jump section. In all, the duo earned 14 points toward the Buckeyes’ team score.

Long Jump
Three of Ohio State’s long jumpers brought in 10 points for the team with their performances today. Kelcey McKinney led the team with a third-place finish and a mark of 5.93m. In sixth-place with a mark of 5.77m was Adenike Pedro. Rounding out the scoring for the Buckeyes was Linton, whose jump of 5.67m helped her to an eight-place finish.

Distance Medley Relay
Tori Brink, Latoya Sanderson, Angela Williams and Jordan Jennewine scored a  single point for the Buckeyes with an eighth place finish in a time of 11:42.27, the fourth-best performance in Ohio State history.

800m Prelims
Brink was the lone Buckeye in the 800m run, but the sophomore more than held her own, running an impressive time of 2:10.55 to take fourth-place and qualify for the finals. She also set a new personal record with the third-best time in Ohio State history.

400m Prelims
Shaniqua McGinnis (55.95) and Jackie Dim (56.12) will both compete again tomorrow in the finals after placing seventh and ninth, respectively.

3000m Run
Freshman Meredith Wagner ran hard in the 3000m and just missed scoring for the Buckeyes. However, her time of 9:39.59 is a new personal record and the fourth-best 3000m time in school history.

600m Prelims
Sophomore Nyjah Cousar narrowly missed qualifying for the finals. She finished 10th with a time of 1.33:29. Cousar ran her fastest time to date and made her way into the school record books as she posted the fifth-best time in Ohio State history.

Team Rankings – Six Events Scored
1) Indiana – 46 points
2) Minnesota – 39
3) Purdue – 31
4) Ohio State – 25
5) Michigan – 17.5
6) Illinois – 17
7) Wisconsin – 16
8) Michigan State – 15.5
9) Iowa – 14
10) Penn State – 13

Competition resumes at noon with the weight throw. A complete recap of the day’s events will be available after the meet at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.