Recently, two former Buckeye runners; Jackson Neff and Sakiko Minagawa punched their tickets to the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials to be held February 29, 2020 in Atlanta, GA. Athletes who have qualified for the trials will have the opportunity to compete for one of three coveted spots to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. In order to qualify athletes must run under the standard of 2:19:00 for men and 2:45.00 for women.
Jackson Neff graduated in 2015 and during his time at Ohio State was the Big Ten Champion in the steeplechase and qualifier to the NCAA Championships where he finished Second Team All-American. Jackson ran a qualifying time of 2:18:47 at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on November 10, 2018.
“I came to Ohio State because I wanted to complete at the highest level and OSU felt like home. Ohio State, the school, the team and the people, they all taught me so much but most importantly the culture of Ohio State pushed me beyond the potential I saw for myself. After graduation I had to reassess my athletic goals and I still felt the hunger to compete at a high level. I decided to begin marathon training last year because it was a new challenge, a new frontier, for me to explore athletically.
A year after my debut marathon, I’ve dropped my time 7 minutes and ran an Olympic Trials qualifying time: 2:18:47 (5:17 min/mile). This was a dream realized and I’m so thankful for all the experiences that led to this moment. I was a walk-on at Ohio State. I never made a National XC Meet or a final at track Nationals but the hard work and consistency I learned from my coaches and teammates has given me the tools to continue training and growing as an athlete. I miss racing in that Buckeye jersey every day.
Now that I’m qualified for the Olympic Trials in February 2020, I can dial-in focus on that race and plan my build-up without worrying about chasing a qualifying time over the next 14 months. My goal is to compete my best in Atlanta in 2020 and hopefully that means a top 40 finish at the Olympic Trials. I also have the goal of running the Olympic A Standard – 2:15. I’m so excited to have another Buckeye on the start-line.
Sakiko has also been an extremely hardworking and motivated athlete and its no surprise that she has qualified as well.
Sakiko Minagawa graduated in 2016 and is currently finishing her master’s degree in Medical Dietetics at Ohio State. While she competed for the Buckeyes she helped the women’s team to finish 26th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships and still holds the 3rd fastest time in school history for 10,000 meters. Sakiko ran a qualifying time of 2:44:49 this past weekend at the California International Marathon.