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COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State women’s track and field team will head to the Drake Relays this weekend in Des Moines, Iowa. The meet will be held on the track that will host the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

99TH ANNUNAL DRAKE RELAYS
Days: Friday, April 25, 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 19, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST
Venue: Drake Stadium
Meet Information: www.drakerelays.org

JATSEK CONTINUES BIG TEN DOMINANCE
Senior Veronica Jatsek has been one of the top throwers in the Big Ten over the past two seasons. In 2007 Jatsek finished second in the weight throw during the indoor season and went on to earn All-America honors at the NCAA Championships. Jatsek carried that momentum into the outdoor season winning the Big Ten title in the hammer throw and earning All-America honors at the NCAA Championships. This season Jatsek won a title in the weight throw during the indoor season and earned her second-consecutive All-America honor.

Last week Jatsek was back at it as she took second at the All-Ohio Championships with a Big Ten-best toss this season of 201 feet, 7 inches. The mark is an NCAA Regional Qualifier and is the only toss over 200 feet in the Big Ten this season in the hammer throw. Jatsek, along with coach Keturah Lofton and Shelaine Larson, are the only Buckeyes to ever go over 200 feet in the hammer toss. 

GETTING IT DONE THE “WRIGHT” WAY
Freshman Letecia Wright is making a name of herself in her first season with the Buckeyes. Wright hit NCAA Regional Qualifying times in two events last week at the Mt. Sac Relays. Wright crossed the line in a time of 13.75 in the 100-meter hurdles, currently holds the third-best time in the 100-meter hurdles in the Mideast Region among freshman and holds the top time for a freshman in the Big Ten. Her time is 11th-best overall in the conference. Wright also was a member of the Buckeyes 4×100-meter relay team that posted regional qualifying time of 45.51 at the Mt. Sac Relays. The time is ranked second in the Big Ten and 11th in the Mideast Region.

THE RETURN OF GRIFFIN
Jenna Harris returns for her final season as a Buckeye in the 2008 outdoor season. She returns to the team as Jenna Griffin after her marriage over the summer to former Ohio State sprinter Gerald Griffin. Jenna Griffin holds the Ohio State school record in the indoor 400-meter dash. She also holds the fourth and fifth-best times in Ohio State history in the 100-meter dash and holds the fourth and sixth-best times in OSU history in the 200-meter dash. Griffin is a three-time Big Ten champion and earned All-America honors in the 2007 indoor season in the 400-meter dash.

LAST WEEK
Friday
– First day action was dominated by Veronica Jatsek, who finished second in the hammer throw with a toss of 201 feet, 7 seven inches. The toss is a season-best for Jatsek, who was an All-American in the hammer throw a season ago. Jatsek looks to claim the third All-American honor of her career during the outdoor season.

Saturday – The Buckeyes finished competition at the All-Ohio Championships in Cincinnati, Ohio on Saturday in eighth place with 36 points on the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Chandra Krempel led the way for the Buckeyes with a second-place finish in the 400-meter dash in a time of 55.80. Ashley Jones took fourth in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:13. 85.

In field events Veronica Jatsek took third in the shot put with a toss of 50 feet, 2 inches. Jatsek also finished second in the hammer throw on Friday. In the heptathlon Alana Gray took fourth with a total of 4,754 points.

The Buckeye also completed action out on the West Coast at the Mt. Sac relays with several athletes hitting NCAA regional qualifying times. 

Ayrizanna Favours won the 400-meter dash with a time of 54.15 and regional qualifies for the NCAA regional championships. For the second-consecutive week Letecia Wright hit an NCAA regional qualifying time in the 100-meter hurdles. Wright won the event with a time of 13.75, which is a season-best time and the top time in the event in the Big Ten among freshman.

In relay events at Mt. Sac the 4×100-meter team won the event with a regional qualifying time of 45.51.

THE JATSEK’S: ALL-AMERICAN SIBLINGS
Veronica Jatsek and her brother, Lenny, are the first pair of Ohio State siblings competing in track & field to earn All-American honors in the same event in the same season. Both Jatsek siblings have earned indoor All-American honors at least twice. Veronica has earned All-American honors a total of three times with her outdoor All-American honor in 2007 in the hammer throw.

Jatsek earned All-American honors in the weight throw with her fourth-place finish with a distance of 70 feet, 3 3/4 inches. Jatsek has earned All-American honors three-consecutive seasons (2007 indoor weight throw, 2007 outdoor hammer, 2008 indoor weight throw). Jatsek joins Keturah Lofton (2004, 2006) and Katy Craig (2001-02) as the only Ohio State throwers to earn All-American honors twice in the weight throw while Jatsek and Craig are the only OSU throwers to pull it off in back-to-back seasons. As Jatsek heads into the outdoor season she will look to become the first Ohio State thrower to earn All-American honors in four-consecutive seasons.

With the points from Jatsek the Ohio State women’s track and field team finished tied for 39th at the 2008 Indoor NCAA Championships. Ohio State has had a thrower earn All-American honors in the weight throw in three-consecutive seasons. Since 2000, the OSU women’s team has had 17 indoor All-Americans and 31 total.

“We are very proud of the season’s accomplishments of Veronica,” Ohio State women’s head Coach Karen Dennis. “Veronica earned this honor through nothing other than hard work and commitment. We had hoped she would finish in the Top 3, but she certainly improved on last seasons seventh place finish at nationals and we are happy with that. She had solid throwing performances throughout the year including a Big Ten championship performance. Completing the season with an All-American honor is wonderful for Veronica and our program.”

JATSEK RETURNS TO DEFEND 2007 HONOR
The Big Ten announced its all-conference teams following the 2007 Women’s Indoor Championships in Champagne, Ill. Ohio State had two of the team’s top competitors honored. Veronica Jatsek was named second team All-Big Ten with her second-place finish in the weight throw. Jatsek’s toss of 68-5 3/4 is the fourth-best in Ohio State history and a season-best. It is an NCAA provisional qualifying toss and sixth-best in the country this season. Jatsek had the best throw by a non-senior by 12-11 1/4. It is Jatsek’s first Big Ten postseason award. Jatsek’s brother, Lenny, also took Big Ten honors in the weight throw after winning the league title in the men’s event. It is the first time that a brother-sister combination has taken All-Big Ten honors in the same year since Tonya and Tyrone Williams of Illinois were both on the All-Big Ten team in 1995.

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes will host their first meet of the season next weekend as they come back to Columbus, Ohio for the Jesse Owens Track Classic.