COLUMBUS, Ohio – The race for the national championships continues this Saturday, Nov. 13, as the Ohio State men’s cross country team heads to the 2010 NCAA Great Lakes Regional Champions in Rochester, Mich., in search of a Top 2 finish and automatic bid to the NCAA championships later this month.

In addition to its quest for a Top 2 placement, Ohio State will be looking for a bit of redemption after a disappointing seventh-place finish at the Big Ten championships two weeks ago. Only a year removed from a third-place finish at the regional finals, the Buckeyes will be out to prove that they remain a threat at the national level.

Action from Oakland University’s 10k Katke-Cousins Golf Course is set to begin at approximately 1:15 p.m. ET. A complete recap will be available after the race at  

Competing Teams
Bowling Green
Central Michigan
Cleveland State
Eastern Michigan
No. 12 Indiana
Indiana State
Kent State
Miami (OH)
No. 34 Michigan State
No. 30 Notre Dame
No. 37 Ohio State
No. 30 Toledo
Western Michigan
No. 5 Wisconsin
Wisconsin-Green Bay
Wright State
Youngstown State

The Ohio State Buckeyes
Senior Chad Balyo has been the team’s No. 1 runner for most of the season, posting the top finish among his teammates at three out of four meets. Balyo is coming off of a 19th-place finish at the Big Ten championships, where he set an 8k personal best time of 24:11.

Junior Jake Edwards has been a pleasant surprise for Ohio State this season – after sitting out for the 2009 cross country campaign, Edwards has returned to competition in the best shape of his Buckeye career. The Delaware, Ohio, native will look to build upon his collegiate-best performance at the Big Ten championships, where he turned in a PR and 22nd-place time of 24:18.

Sophomore Donny Roys has come on strong for the Buckeyes in his second year – he led OSU at Pre-Nationals with a 40th-place run, the top finish among all Big Ten competitors. Roys struggled at last season’s regional meet and will be motivated to improve upon his 149th-place finish from 2009.

Junior Taylor Williams will be competing in his third meet of the year Saturday after missing the first two races due to injury. A Top 15 finisher at last year’s championship race, Williams hopes to regain his form this weekend.

Adam Green and Cory Leslie have experience at the regional championships. Green posted a 28th-place finish at the ’09 championships, while Leslie finished 79th.

Scouting the Great Lakes
Fifth-ranked Wisconsin, winner of the past eight Great Lakes championships is the favorite once again. The Badgers are fresh off a dominating first-place finish at the Big Ten championships – their 12th-consecutive conference title – and are led by Big Ten champion Landon Peacock and Elliot Krause.

No. 12 Indiana, the Big Ten runner-up, will be the top challenger to Wisconsin. Despite finishing a distance second at the conference meet two weeks ago, the IU has enjoyed some success against the Badgers this season, having defeated UW on its home course earlier at the adidas Invitational in early October. Andrew Bayer is the leader of an experience Hoosier squad – Bayer finished a close second to Peacock at the conference championships.

No. 30 Notre Dame is the only other Great Lakes squad featured in the national Top 30. The Fighting Irish are coming off of a fifth-place finish at the Big Ten championships and are led by All-Big East selection Dan Jackson.

Buckeyes Ranked Seventh in Great Lakes Regional Rankings
The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released its weekly regional cross country rankings Nov. 8, with Ohio State checking in at No. 7 in the Great Lakes region for the second-consecutive week. Big Ten champion Wisconsin was the top vote getter in the district, conference runner-up Indiana, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Eastern Michigan, Indiana State and the Buckeyes.

In the national rankings, Ohio State finds itself at No. 37 overall. Four conference rivals – Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota and Penn State – are featured in the national Top 30.

Former All-American Jeff See Joins Staff as Volunteer Assistant
Six-time track and cross country All-American Jeff See is entering his first year as a volunteer assistant with the men’s cross country team. See will lend a hand to the 2010 Buckeye squad while training professionally with Ohio State head coach Robert Gary.

A spring 2010 graduate of The Ohio State University, See led the 2009 Buckeyes to a 21st-place finish at the 2009 NCAA Cross Country Championships. The Middletown, Ohio native was named the Great Lakes Athlete of the Year for his efforts during the season, a campaign that witnessed the Buckeye legend earn the first A-A award of his collegiate career, a Great Lakes regional title and All-Big Ten honors.

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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’s student-athletes carry their success into the classroom as well – 20 members of the 2010 track and field team were named Academic All-Big Ten, while 11 members of the cross country team claimed the honor. The cross country team was named 2010 Division I All-Academic for the eighth straight season.

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 Jeff See (1500m) trained under Gary while preparing for the 2008 Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. Myers, Huling and Olinger advanced to the finals of their events before coming up short while See – just a sophomore at the time – missed the finals by one spot. Gary was selected to be an assistant coach for Team USA’s U23 team in July 2008 at the North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) meet in Toluca, Mexico. Joining him was See, who competed in the 1500m run. Myers and Huling finished the year having run the second-fastest times by an American in their respective events.

A 2009 inductee into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame, Gary received a degree in English education from The Ohio State University in the fall of 1996. He is a graduate of Evanston Township High School (Chicago, Ill.) where he was a state champion in the two-mile and an All-Midwest selection in soccer.

He resides in Columbus with his wife, Rita, and infant son, Percy.

Recapping the 2009 Great Lakes Regional
Jeff See ran a first-place time of 31:03.16 to lead the Ohio State men’s cross country team to a third-place finish at the 2009 NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships.

Taylor Williams enjoyed a successful second trip to the regional finals, finishing 13th in 31:25.94, a 12-spot improvement from 2008 when he led Ohio State to an eighth-place team finish. Adam Green was next up for the Buckeyes, finishing 28th in 31:53.70.

Julian Meyer placed 44th in 32:19.57, while Christopher Olinger took 58th with a time of 32:38.73. Rounding out the Ohio State contingent were freshmen Cory Leslie (79th, 33:03.99) and Donny Roys (149, 34:42.73).

Last Time Out
Ohio State finished in seventh-place at the 8k Big Ten championships Oct. 31.

Senior Chad Balyo led the Buckeyes for the third time this season, finishing 19th overall with an 8k PR of 24:11, followed by junior Jake Edwards, who took 22nd in a PR of 24:18. Sophomore Donny Roys turned in a 40th-place effort for the second-consecutive meet, crossing the finish line in 24:45, while Taylor Williams (41st) and Chris Fallon (42nd) turned in identical times of 24:46, a PR for Fallon.

Junior Adam Green (24:56) and sophomore Cory Leslie (25:09) were the non-scorers for the Buckeyes, finishing 49th and 57th, respectively.

Up Next
With a Top 2 finish Saturday, the Buckeyes will secure an invitation to the 2010 NCAA Cross Country Championships Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Ind.