COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s and women’s track and field teams opened their respective 2021 seasons in impressive fashion Saturday at the Simmons-Harvey Big Ten Invite at the UM Indoor Track in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Buckeyes totaled nine wins on the day with the women’s team taking five firsts and the men four in a meet that also featured Michigan, Indiana, Michigan State and Purdue.
Three meet records were set by Buckeyes: two by Anavia Battle and one by Tyler Johnson.
Highlights for the defending Big Ten Conference indoor and outdoor champion women’s track and field team this afternoon/evening were numerous.
- Emma Nwofor, running unattached, won the 60-meter hurdles in :08.28 to start off the women’s racing events at the Simmons-Harvey Invite. Second was Buckeye freshman Marcia Sey (:08.39) with Alexus Pyles, also running unattached, third in :08.47.
- Battle, the reigning Big Ten indoor track athlete of the championships and the year, broke the Simmons-Harvey record by winning the 60-meter dash in :07.35, breaking teammate Devine Parker’s year-old mark of :07.37. Second today: freshman Yanique Dayle in :07.59.
- A couple of Ohio State seniors took 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the 600-meters with Mary Figler finishing in 1:33.38 and Aziza Ayoub right there in third with a time of 1:33.76.
- Junior Cierra Pyles claimed the first field event win of the 2021 campaign for the women’s team, taking first in the triple jump with a leap of 11.66m or 38-3 1/4.
- Junior Adelaide Aquilla won the shot on her final throw of 16.05m or 52-8.
- Freshman Amaya Ugarte took fourth in the high jump with a leap of 1.68m or 5-6.
- Battle won her second race of the afternoon and broke her second Simmons-Harvey meet record (her own mark of :23.50 in 2019), cruising to a win in the 200 meters in :23.26.
- Ohio State was dominant in the 200. Junior Alyssa Marsh was second to Battle in :24.31, while the freshmen Sey (:24.57) and Chandler Robinson (:25.36) were 4th and 7th, respectively.
- Sophomore Allie Guagenti was seventh in a 25-runner field at 3,000 meters with a personal-best time of 9:30.22. The race included three Ohio State frosh in their first race: Andrea Kuhn, Daniella Santos and Addie Engel.
The men’s competition, which took place in the morning, featured these Ohio State highlights:
- Senior Eric Harrison (:06.79), junior Kainnan Ramsey (:06.82), sophomore Adrian Curry (:06.87) and freshman Praise Olatoke (:06.90) finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th, respectively, in the 60-meter dash. Senior Tavonte Mott (8th; :07.10) gave Ohio State five sprinters in the finals.
- Junior Tyler Johnson set a Simmons-Harvey meet record in winning the 400 meters in :47.32. Second was sophomore Evan Matthews (:48.18) and fourth was junior Amir Metts in :49.10.
- Seniors Cameron Cooper and Frank Hayes took first and second, respectively, in the 600-meter dash in 1:19.49 and 1:19.55.
- Clarence Foote-Talley, the 2020 Big Ten runner-up in the triple jump as a freshman, won the event with a leap of 15.24m or an even 50 feet.
- Buckeyes took the top four places at 200 meters: 1. Sr. Eric Harrison (:21.12); 2. Fr. Praise Olatoke (:21.20); 3. Jr. Amir Metts (:21.78); 4. Jr. Kainnan Ramsey (:21.82). Adrian Curry (6th), Tyrese Fajardo (7th) and Donnie Jones (9th) gave OSU seven of the top 9 finishers.
- A terrific and competitive 4×400 relay to cap the Simmons-Harvey for the men featured the Buckeyes taking second in 3:11.29 (Evan Matthews, Tyler Johnson, Cameron Cooper and Frank Hayes).
Head coach Karen Dennis
One of the most respected names in the track and field community, Karen Dennis is in her seventh season as director of track & field and cross country at Ohio State and is in her 18th season overall in Columbus. Dennis spent eight seasons (2006-2014) as the Ohio State women’s track and field/cross country head coach and was an assistant track coach for four seasons (2003-2006) prior to her appointment as program director for both the men’s and women’s programs.
Dennis, who was inducted into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Coaches Hall of Fame in 2018 and who is also in the Michigan State (2019) and Ohio State (2020) Athletics Halls of Fame, has Ohio State positioned as one of the top programs in the Big Ten Conference and nationally. Dennis’ Buckeyes have captured nine Big Ten titles, including women’s indoor (2011, 2015, 2019, 2020) and outdoor (2011, 2012, 2019) crowns as well as men’s indoor and outdoor championships in 2018, the programs first in 25 years.