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Jan. 5, 2005

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s and women’s track and field teams open the 2005 indoor season Friday afternoon in French Field House with an intrasquad meet instead of the Buckeye Invitational that was originally scheduled for Saturday.

The Buckeyes will compete amongst themselves Saturday in preparation for the Kentucky Invitational in Lexington, Ky. next Friday and Saturday. No times or standards will count toward national qualifying.

KEY RETURNEES FOR THE MEN’S SQUAD Graduation hit the men’s track and field team hard as the Buckeyes saw the departure of Dan Taylor and Joel Brown, both of whom played a significant role in the squad’s success in 2004. Looking to fill the void left by Taylor in the throw events will be senior thrower Brian Duby. Duby returns as the squad’s best thrower from a year ago. Last season, he qualified for the 2004 NCAA Mideast Regional Championships and placed eighth in the hammer throw.

In the sprint events, senior John Morris returns and will look to make up for the loss of Brown. In 2003, Morris qualified for NCAA Mideast regional in the 400-meter dash.

The distance events could prove to be where the Buckeyes will score the most points with juniors Aaron Fisher and Brian Olinger coming back after impressive 2004 campaigns. Fisher returns to the track after redshirting during the 2004 cross country season, while Olinger will enter the track season coming off one of the best individual cross country campaigns in school history.

Last season, Fisher placed fourth in the steeplechase at the 2004 NCAA Championships to earn his first All-America honor. Fisher also held the top steeplechase time in the country for four weeks at 8:37.40. Olinger posted a strong 2004 campaign, winning the 5,000-meter run at the Big Ten championships and just missing All-America status at NCAA’s with 12th-place finish in steeple.

OLINGER POSTS STRONG 2004 CROSS COUNTRY SEASON In the 2004 cross country season, junior Brian Olinger turned in one of the best individual performances in Ohio State history, capping his year with All-America honors after a 21st-place finish at the NCAA championships. The native of Fresno, Ohio helped the Buckeyes to their fourth NCAA championships appearance in the last five years as he finished fourth at the 2004 NCAA Regional Championships, clocking a time of 30:18.7 in the 10-kilometer race. At the Big Ten Championships, Olinger was just as impressive, capturing first team all-league with a seventh-place finish in a time of 24:21.0.

KEY RETURNEES FOR THE WOMEN’S SQUAD With graduation hitting the women’s squad hard, the Buckeyes look to have a majority of their strength in the jump events as they return senior and three-time All-American Rosalind Goodwin. An Ohio State record-holder, Goodwin enters her senior season in the search of defending her Big Ten titles in the indoor long and triple jumps and outdoor triple.

Senior Shayla Moore also returns to the jumps squad this season and aspires to return to her All-America status of 2003 in the triple jump. Sophomore Jessie Stringer will look to build on a solid 2004 campaign. She tied for second in the high jump in his first indoor Big Ten championship meet.

The Buckeyes boast an impressive throws squad with a pair of key returnees in seniors Tiffany Davis and Katy Houser. Both qualified for the 2004 Mideast Regional in their respective events. In the sprint and hurdle events, senior Dalanda Jackson will look to return to her All-American form from 2002 in the 60-meter hurdles, while sophomore Jenna Harris will look to build on an impressive freshman season that saw her qualify for the 2004 NCAA Mideast Regional Championships in the 200-meter dash.

The distance squad features three individuals that could make an impact in seniors Tamecia Brown and Robyn Detty and sophomore Nicole Gliem. Last season, both Brown and Gliem qualified for the 2004 NCAA Mideast Regional Championships in the 800m and 5,000 events, while Detty finished eighth in the 5,000m at the 2004 Big Ten Indoor Championships.

GARY RETURNS TO THE OLYMPICS In August, Robert Gary, Ohio State cross country head coach and assistant track coach, competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. Gary’s trip to the 2004 games marked his second trip to the Olympics. His first endeavor came at the 1996 Atlanta games, where he also competed in the steeple.

Gary, who was hampered by an injury, failed to make the steeple finals in Athens.

At the 2004 U.S. Trials, Gary earned his second bid to the Olympics with a third-place finish in the steeplechase, posting a career-best time of 8:19.46 to earn the final qualifying spot for the U.S. steeplechase squad.

OSU WELCOMES TWO NEW COACHES During the offseason, the Buckeyes announced Kevin Mannon as new throws coach and the return of Tom Doyle to handle the duties of jumps coach. A former Buckeye assistant from 1984-93, Doyle rejoined the OSU coaching staff after spending the previous eight seasons as a field events coach at Illinois (1996-2003) as well as a two-year period at Arizona State (1994-95). Mannon is a familiar face to the Buckeye coaching staff. He served as a volunteer instructor to the Buckeye throwers the last two seasons.

2004 CROSS COUNTRY RECAP The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross country teams once again turned in strong seasons in 2004. Despite redshirting three of its top runners from the 2003 season, the men’s team once again established themselves as one of the elite teams in the country, qualifying for the 2004 NCAA Championships for the fourth time in five years. The men’s and women’s teams finished and sixth and 11th, respectively, at the 2004 Big Ten Championships. In addition, the men and women placed first and second, respectively, at the 2004 All-Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships in Delaware, Ohio.