May 29, 2001

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Eight Buckeyes and the men’s 4×400-meter relay team will vie for national titles this week when they travel to Eugene, Ore. to compete in the 2001 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted by Oregon at the Hayward Field May 30-June 6.

Ian Connor (Sr., Lexington, Ohio), George Hoover (So., Erie, Pa.), Andrew Pierce (Sr., Yellow Springs, Ohio), Katy Craig (Jr., Hilliard, Ohio), Onica Frasier (So., Brooklyn, N.Y.), Tina Johnson (Sr., Burlington, N.J.), Donica Merriman (Sr., Trotwood, Ohio), Tami Smith (So., Galloway, Ohio), and the men’s 4×400-meter relay team consisting of Joel Brown (So., Baltimore, Md.), Courtney Cornwall (Sr., Inwood, N.Y.), Thomas Dickson (Sr., St. Vincent, West Indies) and Pierce have qualified for this years championships.

Pierce will compete for his second All-America honor in his chase for the 400-meter dash title. He is a two-time Big Ten Outdoor champion in the event and holds the Big Ten record with a time of 44.87. Pierce, who finished sixth in last year’s championships, is ranked third nationally in the event. He will also anchor the men’s 4×400-meter relay team.

Connor will see some familiar faces when he competes in the 3,000 steeplechase. Four athletes from last year’s championship will vie for the title again this year, including current NCAA leader Jared Cordes whom Connor beat for the Big Ten Championship title last weekend. Connor placed second in the championships last year and earned his first outdoor All-America title.

Merriman will compete in the highly contested 100 hurdles. She ranks third nationally and has automatically qualified in the event four times this season. She currently owns the Penn Relay and Ohio State track record of 12.70 and was the 2000 Big Ten Champion in the event. Merriman is the 2001 NCAA Indoor Champion in the 60 hurdles. She also will vie for the 200 title. Hoover is making his second appearance in the javelin competition. He is a two-time Big Ten Outdoor Champion and the Ohio State outdoor record holder (230-9).

Big Ten Outdoor Champions Craig (hammer throw) and Fraser (400) are making their first appearance in the championships. Craig comes off a stellar performance in the Big Ten Championships where she captured the title and Billy Hayes Track records with her mark of 195-2. Also making their first appearance in the championships are Johnson (400), Smith (high jump), and 4×400-meter relay team members Brown, Cornwall and Dickson.

The championships will be the final race for All-Americans Connor, Merriman and Pierce as Buckeyes. However, they may compete in the USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships held June 21-23, also in Eugene. The meet also marks the end of collegiate competition for teammates Johnson, Cornwall and Dickson.

Complete results can be found at


Athlete Event Mark Nat’l Rank Ian Connor 3,000 steeplechase 8:42.58* 9th George Hoover javelin 70.34 12th Andrew Pierce 400-meter dash 44.94* 3rd Katy Craig hammer throw 59.50 11th Onica Frasier 400-meter dash 52.72 10th Tina Johnson 400-meter dash 52.86 16th Donica Merriman 100-meter hurdles 12.82* 3rd 200-meter dash 23.21 16th Tami Smith high jump 1.80 21st Joel Brown 4×400-meter relay 3:05.42 12th Courtney Cornwall, Thomas Dickson, Andrew Pierce

*–NCAA automatic qualifier


Wednesday, May 30 9:00 p.m. Javelin (Hoover) Final 9:55 p.m. 200 Meters (Merriman) Semifinals

Thursday, May 31 7:30 p.m. 100 Hurdles (Merriman) Trial 8:10 p.m. 400 Meters (Frasier, Johnson) Semifinals 8:20 p.m. 400 Meters (Pierce) Semifinals 10:00 p.m. 4×400 Relay Semifinals (Brown, Cornwall, Dickson, Pierce) 10:15 p.m. 3,000 Steeplechase (Connor) Semifinals

Friday, June 1 9:25 p.m. 100 Hurdles (Women) Semifinals

Saturday, June 2 6:00 p.m. Hammer (Craig) Final 7:30 p.m. High Jump (Smith) Final 8:10 p.m. 100 Hurdles (Women) Final 8:30 p.m. 400 Meters (Women) Final 8:35 p.m. 400 Meters (Men) Final 9:30 p.m. 200 Meters (Women) Final 9:45 p.m. 3,000 Steeplechase (Men) Final 10:40 p.m. 4×400 Relay (Men) Final