COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s track and field team heads to Des Moines, Iowa this Friday and Saturday, April 29-30, for the 102nd running of the Drake Relays.

Known as “America’s Athletic Classic,” the Drake Relays have long been considered one of the top track and field meets in the United States. The nation’s top high school, college and professional talent flock to the campus of Drake University each year for the historic gathering. This year, more than 7,000 athletes will be in attendance competing in a total of 115 events.

Freshmen Demoye Bogle and Barron Witherspoon will open competition for the Buckeyes in Des Moines as contenders for the 110m hurdle title Friday afternoon at approximately 12:35 p.m. ET. A complete recap will be available at at the conclusion of each day.

Edwards Set to Compete at Payton Jordan Invitational Sunday
Jake Edwards will be in Palo Alto, Calif., this Sunday, May 1, for the Payton Jordan Invitational, hosted by Stanford University. The redshirt junior will compete against a field of nearly 100 in the 5000m at approximately 11:30 p.m. ET time Sunday evening. Live stats can be found at  

Buckeyes Check-in at No. 34 in USTFCCCA National Rankings, Second Regionally
The Ohio State men’s track and field team jumped six spots to No. 34 in the April 26 edition of U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s national team rankings.

In all, seven Big Ten teams are ranked among the national top 50, led by 17th-ranked Penn State. Wisconsin checks-in at No. 22, followed by No. 29 Iowa, No. 31 Minnesota, the Buckeyes, 44th-ranked Indiana and No. 48 Illinois. Texas A&M is the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, with LSU and Florida State rounding out the top 3. Future Big Ten member Nebraska is ranked 12th.

The Buckeyes fair better in the Great Lakes regional rankings, where they are currently ranked second behind Wisconsin. Indiana is ranked third, followed by Akron and Michigan.

OSU in the Individual Top 25 Rankings
Seven members of the men’s track and field team find themselves ranked within the top 25 in several event areas nationally. A look at where the Buckeyes sit:

  • Michael Hartfield – No. 7 in the long jump and No. 22 in the triple jump
  • Thomas Murdaugh – No. 14 in the 400m and No. 19 in the 4x400m relay
  • Cory Leslie – No. 14 in the 3000m steeplechase
  • Korbin Smith – No. 18 in the long jump and No. 19 in the 4x400m relay
  • Marvel Brooks – No. 19 in the 4x400m relay and No. 23 in the 400m hurdles
  • Aaron Roberts – No. 19 in the 4x400m relay
  • Matt DeChant – No. 20 in the shot put

Recapping the Jesse Owens Celebration
The Ohio State University Thursday paid tribute to the “Buckeye Bullet,” Jesse Owens, by unveiling the Jesse Owens Memorial Statue outside Jesse Owens Stadium April 21. The unveiling was part of the 75th Anniversary Celebration of Owens’ memorable performance at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he won four gold medals: one each in the 100m, the 200m, the long jump and 4x100m relay.

Hundreds of family members, Ohio State staff members, media, friends, fans and Ohio State track and field team members took part in the historic celebration. Special guest speakers taking part in the celebration included members of the Owens family, benefactor David E. Reese, sculptor Alan Cottrill and track and field alumnus, John Hammond.

Later that evening, a celebration dinner in honor of Owens was held at the Ohio Union Archie Griffin Ballroom. The gathering was highlighted by prominent guests including actor/comedian Bill Cosby, U.S.A. Track and Field president and Ohio State Hall of Famer Stephanie Hightower, members from Ohio State and Columbus community, and members from the Owens family. ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap, a family friend and author of the book Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics, served as emcee. Proceeds from the sold out event will be used to support the Ruth and Jesse Owens Scholars Program as well as the Ohio State men’s and women’s track and field programs.

Gary, Buckeyes Ink 12 Student-Athletes for 2011-2012
Ohio State track and field and cross country head coach Robert Gary announced the signing of 12 student-athletes for the 2011-2012 academic year March 23. Heavy on distance runners and hurdlers, the well-balanced class also features talented athletes in the jumps, throws and sprints.

“I absolutely believe Ohio is a top 5 overall state in the country for track and field and cross country recruiting,” Gary said of his 2011 recruiting class. “I think it is a great recipe if you can attract the best talent in Ohio and also find the developmental projects of recruits from Ohio who know what The Ohio State University is all about and already have a great love and sense of pride towards Buckeye Nation.”

In all, the Buckeyes will welcome 10 Ohio products and two accomplished out-of-state prospects to campus next fall, and coaches are hopeful that the team will add even more talent before the end of the signing period. Meet the future Buckeyes:

  • Michael Brajdic // Distance – Bay Village, Ohio – Bay Village
  • Antonio Blanks // Sprints/Hurdles – Dayton, Ohio – Dunbar
  • Josh Sabo // Mid-Distance – Richfield, Ohio – Revere
  • Curtis Hanle // Distance – Louisville, Ohio – Louisville
  • Jeff Hannaford // Distance – Westerville, Ohio – North
  • Brian Hannaford // Distance – Westerville, Ohio – North
  • Michael Bennett // Throws – Centerville, Ohio – Centerville
  • Derrick Anderson // Hurdles – Arlington, Texas – Mansfield Timberview
  • Brad Hess // Distance – Fort Wayne, Ind. – Carroll
  • Luke Norris // Hurdles – Lebanon, Ohio – Lebanon
  • Tyler Parrish // High Jump – Amherst, Ohio – Amherst Steele
  • Jc Murasky // Throws – Zanesville, Ohio – Maysville

Gary Named Assistant for Team USA at IAFF World Championships
Ohio State track and field and cross country head coach Robert Gary will represent the Buckeyes as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships, August 27 to September 4, in Daegu, South Korea.

Gary, in his fifth season as the track and field head coach and 14th leading the cross country team at Ohio State, will mentor the American distance runners under the direction of USA head coach Vin Lananna, Director of Track and Field at the University of Oregon.

In addition to his duties with Team USA at the track and field championships, Gary will also direct the American junior squad at the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships March 20 in Punta Umbria, Spain. Gary has previous experience as an assistant at the junior level, having served on the U.S. staff at the 2010 World Junior Track and Field Championships in Mochton, Canada. That experience will serve him well, as he looks to improve an American squad that finished in eighth-place as a team at the 2010 championships.

Join the Olympian Club!
A fund-raising initiative created by head coach Robert Gary, the Ohio State Olympian Club hopes to generate financial support for track and field/cross country projects that are beyond the budget but extremely valuable in enhancing the experiences of the program’s student-athletes.

Besides supporting the members of the Ohio State track and field/cross country teams both on and off the track, donations will afford the Buckeyes the opportunity to continue to operate in a first-class manner, while setting a new standard for Division I programs.

For more information, visit the men’s track and field home page at   

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Head coach Robert Gary
Robert Gary, now in his fifth season as the head men’s track and field coach and 15th coaching the cross country team, has elevated both programs to new heights and has established himself as one of the nation’s elite coaches.

Gary’s teams constantly strive for top 3 finishes at the Big Ten championships in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field. And for the second time in three years, the Buckeyes did just that during the 2009-10 campaign. Gary led the cross country team to a second-place finish at the Big Ten championships as Jeff See took third overall among individuals. The Buckeyes went onto place third at the NCAA regional finals before taking 21st at the NCAA championships behind See’s All-America finish. On the track, Gary led the Buckeyes to a second-place finish at the Big Ten indoor championships and a third-place showing during the outdoor season. See (mile/1500m) and Matt DeChant (shot put) earned All-America honors during the indoor and outdoor seasons while Thomas Murdaugh earned All-America honors in the 400m during the indoor. In addition, the Buckeyes swept their rival Michigan in “The Dual” by winning both indoor and outdoor meets.

Coach Gary continues to train the best each year for the USA Track and Field championships and Olympic trials. In June 2010, he helped train Dan Huling, who took first place in the 3000m steeplechase at the 2010 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. In addition, Huling, along with former Buckeye greats Rob Myers (1500m), Brian Olinger (steeplechase) and See (1500m) trained under Gary while preparing for the 2008 Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore.

Gary ended a decorated running career in 2005. A two time member of Team USA at the 1996 and 2004 Olympics, Gary placed second in the men’s steeplechase at the 1996 Olympic Trials with a career-best time of 8:19.46. Eight years later, his third-place finish at the trials gained an automatic bid on the U.S. team headed to Athens, Greece for the 2004 Games.  Gary also earned honors as a cross country athlete, competing on a total of 11 U.S. national teams.

As a student-athlete at Ohio State from 1992-1995, Gary was a six-event All-American, winning the Big Ten outdoor 3000m steeplechase title in 1994, where he set the Ohio State and Big Ten record in the event. He was a three-time all-Big Ten selection and member of three Big Ten championship teams (1992 outdoor, 1993 indoor and outdoor).

A 2009 inductee into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame, Gary received a degree in English education from Ohio State in the fall of 1996.

Last Time Out
The 26th Jesse Owens Track Classic and 75th anniversary celebration of Owens’ historic 1936 Berlin Olympic performance came to a close April 24 at a surprisingly rain-free Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

Despite the Easter holiday and threat of bad weather, fans turned out in droves to celebrate Owens’ legacy and enjoy one of the Midwest’s top collegiate track meets. Host Ohio State entertained its supporters by posting four wins on the day, including a meet-closing victory in the 4x400m relay.

“It was a terrific weekend on and off the track,” Ohio State head coach and Jesse Owens meet director Robert Gary said. “I believe our program and University honored the greatest athlete of all time in superb fashion.”  


  • All-American Thomas Murdaugh, despite nursing a nagging hamstring injury, anchored Ohio State’s 4x400m relay team to a season-best and top 20 national time of 3:07.13, tops in the Big Ten on the season. The Venezuelan National Team finished second in 3:09.53, followed by Kent State (3:09.71).
  • Ohio State, led by anchor Blake Callahan, won the 4x100m in a season-best time of 40.63.
  • Junior All-American Michael Hartfield won the long jump with a top 10 national mark of 7.87m (25-10). Nafee Harris of IUPUI was second at 7.57m (24-10), while Stephan MacDonald placed third for the Buckeyes with a 7.34m (24-1) leap.
  • Ohio State placed 1-2 in the 400m hurdles, with sophomore Marcus Brooks (52.41) overtaking freshman Demoye Bogle (52.42) at the finish line for first place.

Up Next
Ohio State will take a week off before traveling to the University of Iowa for the 2011 Big Ten Outdoor Championships May 13-15.