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Gray finishes fifth in heptathlon; 4x100m relay sets top qualifying time for Sunday’s finals

COLUMBUS, Ohio A fourth-place finish in the javelin from freshman Maggie Mullen was the highlight of day two of the 2009 Big Ten Championships for the Ohio State women’s track and field team.

Mullen’s mark of 43.25m was the third-best throw in Ohio State history and earned four points for the Buckeyes. Purdue All-American Kara Patterson took the title with a Jesse Owens Stadium record throw of 57.47m. Penn State sophomores Karlee McQuillen (53.62m) and Kim Hansloven (48.55m) surpassed the regional qualifying standards in finishing second and third, respectively.

The Buckeyes qualified first in the 4x100m preliminaries with a regional qualifying time of 45.46, holding off Casey Taylor and Michigan, whose late charge earned a second place finish for the Wolverines in heat one at 45.57. Penn State won the second heat, earning the No. 2 slot for Sunday’s finals with a time of 45.57. Minnesota was fourth at 45.59.

Letecia Wright, the anchor of the 4x100m team, followed up that performance by running the second-fastest time in the preliminaries of the 100m hurdles at 13.43. Tiffany Ofili of Michigan, who holds the third-best time in the nation this year in the event, qualified first with a time of 13.05.

Ohio State sophomore Alana Gray finished fifth in the heptathlon with a personal record point total of 5078, the fourth-best score in school history. Gray’s best finish was in the 200m dash, where she ran a PR of 25.44 for fourth-place. Minnesota’s Liz Roehrig led the competition from the beginning and took the title with a Big Ten season high score of 5871, a Jesse Owens Stadium record. Bettie Wade of Penn State was second with 5834 points, followed by Penn State’s Gayle Hunter (5730) and Alecia Beckford-Stewart of Illinois (5172).

Sophomore Jordan Jennewine ran a time 4:26.59 to qualify for the 1500m finals. Michigan’s Danielle Tauro had the fastest preliminary time at 4:23.87, followed by Lisa Senakiewich of Michigan State (4:24.33).

The 200m dash preliminaries saw Ayrizanna Favours qualify with the fifth-best time in the field, a run of 24.15. Favours was also scheduled to run in the 400m dash, but was a last-minute scratch.

Michigan State senior Nicole Bush set a Jesse Owens Stadium and Big Ten Championship record in the 3000m steeplechase with her time of 9:41.87. Bridget Franek of Penn State was a distant second with a regional qualifying time of 9:58.27.

Minnesota leads at day two’s conclusion with 54 points, followed by Penn State (47 points) and Indiana (45). Competition concludes tomorrow beginning at 11:00 a.m. EDT with action in the women’s triple jump.

Team Standings Eight Events Scored

1) Minnesota 54
2) Penn State 47
3) Indiana 45
4) Purdue 42
5) Michigan 36
6) Illinois 26
7) Michigan State 24
8) Wisconsin 22
9) Ohio State 13
10) Iowa 3