May 20, 2021

Tyler Johnson Named Co-Track Athlete of the Championships


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State track and field produced three of the four “athletes of the championships” coming out of the Big Ten Conference men’s and women’s championships this past weekend which were held in Champaign, Ill., and at the University of Illinois.

In addition, Ohio State director of track and field and cross country Karen Dennis was named the women’s coach of the year after the women’s team won its second consecutive outdoor championship and its eighth overall Big Ten title in the last 11 years.

Third for Battle

Battle, truly the outstanding sprinter in the conference for the last four years, won the 100 meters in 11.35, the 200 meters in a blistering 22.54 to tie her own school record, and ran a leg on the victorious 4×100 relay team.

This is the second consecutive outdoor championships that Battle has been named the track athlete of the championships (2019 as well) and her third such honor, including her 2020 indoor honor. Battle is the first Buckeye to win two outdoor athlete of the championships honors and just the sixth in Big Ten history.

Ohio State’s Outdoor Athlete of the Championships

2021 – Anavia Battle (Track)

2021 – Adelaide Aquilla (Field)

2019 – Anavia Battle (Track)

2012 – Alexis Thomas (Field)

2011 – Christina Manning (Track)

2000 – Donica Merriman

1999 – Dominque Calloway

Aquilla & Johnson Double-Up

What’s better than an athlete of the championships honor? Two athlete of the championships honors … in the same year! Adelaide Aquilla and Tyler Johnson accomplished just that, and it’s something that only six Buckeyes all-time have accomplished.

Aquilla broke the Big Ten championships record twice on Saturday in the shot put, with her final winning throw of 19.12m / 62-8¾  topping her own school mark and personal best by nearly three feet. It is also the No. 1 throw in the nation this year and No. 4 all-time in U.S. history.

Aquilla was named the 2021 indoor field athlete of the championships in March after she successfully defended her 2020 shot put title by throwing the shot 17.7m / 58-1 Saturday to win the 2021 title.

Johnson, the leader of the men’s team that scored 60 points on Sunday to race from 11th place to fifth in the final team standings, won the 400 meters in 45.37, giving him a sweep of the Big Ten indoor and outdoor 400s. Johnson was the runner-up in the 200 to teammate Eric Harrison despite running his fastest 200 ever (20.57) and he helped the 4×400 relay team to a runner-up honor as well.

Indoors, Johnson won the 200 meters, the 400 meters and ran a leg on the victorious 4×400 relay team … all within about a two-hour window.

Ohio State’s Outdoor Athlete of the Championships

2021 – Tyler Johnson (Track)

2019 – Nick Gray (Track)

2013 – Mike Hartsfield (Field)

2000 – Andrew Pierce

1994 – Chris Sanders

1993 – Chris Nelloms

1992 – Chris Nelloms

1991 – Aaron Payne

1987 – Butch Reynolds

1982 – Kevin Akins

Only Aquilla (2021), Christina Manning (2011) and Donica Merriman (2000) have been named indoor and outdoor athlete of the championships in the same year for the women.

Only Johnson (2021), Nick Gray (2019) and Aaron Payne (1991) have accomplished the same year athlete of the championships indoor and outdoor for the men.

Pyles and Ramsey Honored

The Big Ten Conference also announced today its sportsmanship award honorees. Senior Alexus Pyles and junior Kainnan Ramsey were Ohio State women’s and men’s honorees, respectively.