GREENSBORO, N.C. – Ohio State All-Americans Matt DeChant and Thomas Murdaugh stepped up their game on the big stage Friday at the 2010 NCAA East Regional Preliminaries, using season-best performances to secure invitations to next month’s national championships.

DeChant’s season-best throw of 18.20m (59-8.50) helped the sophomore finish eighth and book a trip to Eugene on June 9. Teammate Tyler Branch gave a valiant effort, but fell short of championship qualification with a 21st-place finish (17.36m/56-11.50), as Florida’s Kemal Mesic took first-place with a 19.16m (62-10.50) heave.

Murdaugh posted a season-best time of 45.86 to finish fifth in his heat and 12th overall, claiming the final spot in the championship field. Mississippi State’s Tavaris Tate took home the regional title in a time of 45.05, with Florida’s Calvin Smith second in 45.06.

Senior Elon Simms fell just short of qualifying for the 400m hurdle national championships, finishing 16th overall in 51.97 and fifth in his heat. Johnny Dutch had the top time of day once again, taking the regional title in a time of 48.12, the top Division I performance this outdoor season.

Big Ten champion Stephen Robinson finished 38th in the 200m dash, failing to make the cut for the NCAA finals. Robinson took fifth in his heat in a time of 21.50, falling short of the Top 3 finish necessary to make the semifinal run Saturday. Florida State sophomore Maurice Mitchell sprinted to the top preliminary time (20.53).

A jump of 2.01m (6-7) earned Ryan Blake a 33rd-place finish in the long jump, ending the 2010 campaign for the Buckeye junior. Penn State’s Ryan Fritz was the top finisher at 2.16m (7-1).

Results from the 3000m steeplechase, featuring Buckeyes Adam Green and Cory Leslie, were not available as of this writing. Jeff See will be first on the track Saturday for the Buckeyes, as the senior All-American looks to advance to the NCAA finals in the 1500m at approximately 6:30 p.m.