June 14, 2019

Looking Back at the 2019 Season


The Ohio State women’s track & field team ended the season ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten after their indoor and outdoor conference titles while the men are No. 4. During this season, the Buckeyes have achieved plenty of accomplishments as a team and individually.

B1G Champs

For the first time since 2015, the women took home the indoor Big Ten title at the 2019 Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich., with a total of 112 team points. Michigan native Anavia Battle ran a personal-best 60m dash with a time of 7.28s to claim silver. The sophomore didn’t stop there; she earned the title of Big Ten Champion in the 200m dash with the best time in the NCAA and Ohio State history (22.80s). Sade Olatoye set a new school record and Michigan facility record to land her the number one spot in the nation for women’s shot put. She was the undisputed champion in the weight throw nation and in the Big Ten Conference.

The favorite to win the outdoor conference title, the Ohio State women’s track & field team delivered with a spectacular final day of competition, scoring the most points of any team male or female with 126 to take the title and complete the indoor-outdoor sweep for just the second time in program history (last accomplished in 2011). It was the first outdoor title for the women since 2012, and second-most points scored for the women, indoor or outdoor. The Buckeyes saw their first outdoor individual champion of the championships as junior Taylor DeLoach leaped 6.18m in the long jump to take gold, also earning the first individual Big Ten championship of her career. The women’s 4×100-meter team started the track events off strong with Bliss Soleyn, Anavia Battle, Karimah Senior and DeLoach collecting gold easily with a time of 43.99. Anavia Battle went two-for-two in her individual events, picking up a Big Ten title in both the 100m dash (11.32) and the 200m dash (22.73). Abby Nichols ran a phenomenal 5,000, staying in the front of the pack for the entire race before emerging as the leader in the last lap and never relinquishing the lead. Nichols broke the school record for her first Big Ten title, crossing the finish line at 15:56.52 and clinching the title for the women.

Men Champions:

  • Nick Gray – 60m, indoor 200m, outdoor 200m.
  • Frank Hayes – 600m dash

Legendary Coaching

Head coach Karen Dennis was unanimously selected as the Big Ten Coach of the Year for the third time in her career, leading the Buckeyes to their third Big Ten indoor title after similar victories in 2011 and 2015.  Dennis was then named Outdoor Coach of the Year for the fourth time in her career with the Buckeyes’ fourth outdoor Big Ten title after similar victories in 2011 and 2015.

Coach Dennis is the first Big Ten coach in over 20 years to lead a men’s and women’s team to an indoor and outdoor sweep consecutively. During the 2017-18 season, the men found the same success as they won both indoor and outdoor Big Ten Championships under the direction of Dennis. Ohio State is only the third program to sweep Big Ten titles on one side and follow it with another the next year.

Dennis, in her 12th year as Director of Track & Field and Cross Country, led the Buckeyes to a dominating win at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, with wins in seven different events. With three women qualifying for nationals, Ohio State ranks seventh in the country and first in the Great Lakes Region. This is the fifth time that Dennis has been named the Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year.

Coach Dennis’s accolades just keep piling up as she was inducted into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Coaches Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2018. The USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame exists to recognize coaches who have brought great distinction to themselves, to their institutions and to the sports of cross country and track & field. Each of the honorees exemplifies the qualities of dedication to the sport, leadership and passion for their profession and serves as an inspiration to coaches everywhere. Dennis became an assistant coach for the men’s and women’s track & field programs in 2003 before taking over as the head women’s track & field coach in 2006. Dennis-coached athletes earned 67 Big Ten individual titles, 23 First-Team All-America honors and four NCAA individual event titles. Dennis is only the second Ohio State coach to be inducted into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame, as Larry Snyder was a special inductee in 2009.


Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State Buckeyes

Scarlet and GRAY

Sprints specialist Nick Gray had a legendary 2018-19 season as he etched his legacy into the Ohio State track & field program. Gray won the men’s 60m dash Big Ten title with a time of 6.64s, a facility record. He wasn’t finished, however, as the Pickerington native crossed the finish line with a time of 20.48s in the 200m dash, earning another gold medal and the number two seed in the entire NCAA. Gray was on double duty at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Ala., as he qualified in both the 200m dash and 60m dash. His fastest 60m dash time of the season was an impressive 6.61 that landed him the 12th spot in the nation. His 200m dash time of 20.48, which won him the a Big Ten title, placed him in the No. 3 spot in the country.

Along with Battle’s 200m dash win on the women’s side at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, Gray made it a Buckeye sweep, clocking in at 20.23s to set the Cretzmeyer Track facility record and finish his Big Ten career as an 11-time Big Ten Champion. Gray was named Track Athlete of the Championships, becoming the first Buckeye to earn the award since 2007. The sprinter made some noise within the track & field world when he broke Ohio State great, Jesse Owens,  80 year old 100m dash record time of 10.20s. On the same day, Gray broke the 200m dash record with a time of 20.20s. That record stood for 26 years before it was broken. He has placed Top Three 17 times in six meets this past 2019 outdoor season and competed in the men’s 200m dash at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

School Records

At the conclusion of the season, a total of 14 Buckeyes have broken 17 school records.


  • Anavia Battle – 200m – 22.80s
  • Julia Rizk – Mile – 4:32.79s
  • Abby Nichols – 5,000m – 16:14.00
  • Sade Olatoye – Shot Put – 17.88m
  • Sade Olatoye – Weight Throw – 24.46m
  • Alexus Pyles – Pentathlon – 3,993 points
  • Abby Nichols, Karrington Winters, Annie Ubbing and Julia Rizk – Distance Medley  –  11:02.12s
  • Nick Gray – 60m – 6.61s
  • Frank Hayes – 800m – 1:47.90s
  • Cole Gorski – Pole Vault – 5.52m


  • Anavia Battle – 200m – 20.54s
  • Julia Rizk – 1,500m – 4:13.70s
  • Christine Frederick – 10k – 33:46.37s
  • Sade Olatoye – Shot Put – 17.88m
  • Sade Olatoye – Hammer Throw – 69.37m
  • Mary Figler, Aziza Ayoub, Julia Rizk and Courtney Clody – 4x800m – 8:30.79s
  • Nick Gray – 100m – 10.15s
  • Nick Gray – 200m – 20.14s

National Champions

Seniors Sade Olatoye and Julia Rizk both claimed indoor national titles this past indoor season. Olatoye taking the crown in the women’s weight throw with a winning heave of 24.46m. Rizk gave it all she had during the last 60 meters of the women’s mile run to claim the National title with a time of 4:32.79s.

Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State Buckeyes

Students First


B1G Honors




The Olatoye Show

Senior Sade Olatoye was a notable stand-out this past indoor season as well as a world leader in both shot put and weight throw. This caused some buzz for the throws specialist as she was placed on the Pre-NCAA Indoor Watch List for The Bowerman– collegiate track & field’s highest honor. Olatoye led the nation in both the shot put and weight throw after a stellar effort at the Indoor Big Ten Championships. The senior captured individual conference titles in both events with best marks of 17.88m (58-8) in the shot put and a 24.07m (78-11¾) in the weight throw. This stellar performance, along with her impressive ten titles in seven meets, being in Top Three of shot put and weight throw, has earned her a spot on this prestigious list. Olatoye is the first Buckeye in history to receive this honor, writing her name deep within the Ohio State record books yet again. The Ohio native secured the No. 6 spot in NCAA all-time history with her 24.07m (78-11.75) in the Big Ten Championship weight throw competition. She is only the second Buckeye in Ohio State history who is currently on the list. Olatoye was named Big Ten Field Athlete of the week five times in a row, creating another school record and Big Ten record to add to her accolades. She was named Field Athlete of the year for both the Big Ten and USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region.
Olatoye holds four Ohio State records, both indoor (17.88m) and outdoor (17.88m) shot put along both indoor (24.46m) and outdoor (69.37m) hammer. This past outdoor season she was named Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week (May 1, 2019), the same week she took home three gold medals and broke two school records at the Jesse Owens Classic. Olatoye hasn’t placed lower than 6th in any meet she has competed in during the 2019 outdoor season. Runner-up at the Big Ten Championships in shot put and hammer throw. She took third in shot put and fourth in the hammer throw at the NCAA Championships. Her two top eight finishes allowed her to score a total of 11 points to assist in the women’s top 25 finish.

Bucks Making Noise