Runner-up finish is highest in nine years for Ohio State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Ohio State women’s track and field team captured second-place Sunday at the 2010 Big Ten Championships, the Buckeyes’ highest team finish in nine years.

A year removed from placing ninth, the Scarlet and Gray used a balanced team effort to take the conference by storm. No. 10 Penn State – competing on its home track – won the championship with a total of 111 points, ahead of the Buckeyes (88) and No. 19 Indiana (83).

“I am just so proud of this team,” head coach Karen Dennis said after the meet. “We knew that we had the personnel to put together this type of turnaround and it is very rewarding to see it come true.”

While the Buckeyes witnessed outstanding performances across the board, it was Christina Manning who stated her case for the Athlete of the Championship award, recording two runner-up finishes and an individual title in the 60m hurdles.

“Christina was just on fire today,” Dennis said. “She came to me in the summer and told me she was going to do everything she could to help make our team better. She was our top point scorer on the day, so obviously she kept her promise.”

Manning and Letecia Wright went one-two in the 60m hurdle finals, with the Waldorf, Md., product getting the better of her Baltimore counterpart – both set NCAA provisional times, with Manning crossing the finish line in 8.25 and Wright following in 8.32. Freshman Christienne Linton finished in seventh-place with a time of 8.73 as the Buckeyes amassed 20 team points in the event. 

Manning followed up her title in the hurdles with runner-up finishes in both the 200m and 60m dash. The sophomore used a time of 23.56 in the 200m – the second-best in school indoor history and a Top 15 time nationally – to finish behind Penn State All-American Shavon Greaves, who set the national standard with an NCAA-best sprint of 22.98, a track record. Greaves would also edge Manning in the 60m dash, taking the title with a 7.30 gallop, while Manning finished close behind in 7.40, the third-best time in OSU indoor history.

The upset of the championship came in the 400m dash, where Buckeye sophomore Shaniqua McGinnis captured her first individual Big Ten title by defeating Penn State All-American Fawn Dorr. McGinnis broke the OSU indoor record with her winning time of 52.65, an NCAA provisional qualifier and the third-best Division I time this season. Dorr finished just behind McGinnis with a PR of 52.68, fourth-best nationally.

“McGinnis is just starting to scratch the surface of her potential,” Dennis said of the rising sophomore. “Beating an athlete like Fawn Dorr is an outstanding accomplishment. Shaniqua and I were excited to get a call from (former Ohio State All-American) Jenna Griffin today congratulating her on both her title and school record.”

McGinnis and Manning, along with seniors Latoya Sanderson and Ashley Caldwell posted the second-best school indoor time in the 4x400m relay, finishing third with an NCAA provisional time of 3:38.88, a Top 25 nationally. Penn State took home the mile relay title with a Big Ten championships record time of 3:35.38.

Caldwell would best her own Ohio State record in the 600m to finish third in a time of 1:29.34. Indiana senior Molly Beckwith would take the win with a track record time of 1:27.22.

Kelcey McKinney just missed the podium in the triple jump, finishing fourth with a PR mark of 12.45m (40-10.25). Wisconsin’s Chavon Robinson finished first at 12.87m (42-2.75).

“Our girls have put in the effort in the weight room and on the track to get better and our coaches have given the extra effort in recruiting and teaching these young women,” Dennis said. “I’m really happy to see everyone’s hard work pay off, and I expect even bigger things from this team in the outdoor season.”

Other news and notes:

  • Maggie Mullen finished seventh in the weight throw with a toss of 18.23m (59-9.75). Indiana junior Faith Sherrill won the event with and NCAA provisional mark of 20.35m (66-9.25).
  • Katie Williams ran a time of 16:44.90 in the 5000m – the third-best in school indoor history – to finish in 10th-place.
  • Sanderson finished ninth in the 400m finals with a time of 55.47.
  • Linton finished fifth in the 60m dash (7.53), while Wright was sixth in 7.59.
  • McGinnis took sixth in the 200m dash for the Buckeyes in 24.26.
  • Ashley Galbraith equaled her PR in the high jump, finishing 13th at 1.70m (5-7). 

Team Standings (Final)
1. Penn State – 111 points
2. Ohio State – 88
3. Indiana – 83
4. Minnesota – 82
5. Wisconsin – 72
6. Purdue- 71
7. Illinois – 67
8. Michigan – 61
9. Iowa – 36
10. Michigan State – 30