GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Ohio State men’s track and field team enjoyed a record-breaking final day of competition Saturday at the 2010 NCAA East Regional Preliminaries.
Jeff See, Cory Leslie and OSU’s four-time defending Big Ten champion 4x400m relay team will represent the Buckeyes June 9-12 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., joining Matt DeChant and Thomas Murdaugh, who secured invitations Friday evening.
“Once again, I am proud to say that our team qualified guys in a four event areas – sprints, relays, distance and the field,” Ohio State head coach Robert Gary said after the meet. “Qualifying seven athletes to the national championships is a great accomplishment for our program here at Ohio State.”
See, a four-time All-American, finished second overall in the 1500m semifinals to qualify for his sixth NCAA championship meet as a Buckeye. The senior’s season-best time of 3:43.14 was just off of the first-place pace set by Notre Dame’s Daniel Clark (3:43.08).
Cory Leslie will compete in the first national championship of his career after a 14th-place and personal record time of 8:49.06 in the 3000m steeplechase. Although the redshirt sophomore was not among the Top 12 finishers, he advanced to Eugene thanks to a third-place finish in his heat. Teammate Adam Green took 15th overall in 8:51.73, but fell short of qualification due to a fifth-place finish in his heat. Louisville’s Matt Hughes won the regional title in a time of 8:34.87, the top Division I time this outdoor season.
Ohio State’s 4x400m relay team of Brandon Woodard, Korbin Smith, Stephen Robinson and Murdaugh finished third overall – second in their heat – in a time of 3:03.97 to qualify for the national championships for the second-consecutive season. All-American anchor Murdaugh, already an individual qualifier in the 400m dash, ran a blistering 44.65 final leg to clinch the Buckeyes’ spot at the NCAA finals – had Murdaugh run a 44.65 in individual competition, it would be the fastest DI time this season and the second-best in Ohio State history.
After witnessing an impressive final day of competition from his squad, Gary is excited to see how his seven qualifying athletes perform on the big stage:
“All of our guys are peaking at the right time,” Gary said. “I truly believe all eight could make finals at NCAAs. Hopefully we can make it happen.”
The Buckeyes will take a week off before traveling to the University of Oregon for the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships June 9-12.