STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Ohio State men’s track and field team and the Big Ten Conference posted a 399-337 victory over the Southeastern Conference Saturday afternoon in the inaugural SEC/Big Ten Challenge, held at Mississippi State’s newly-renovated Carl Maddox Track.
The Big Ten used balance to defeat its southern rivals, dominating in the field events and distance competition. Ohio State contributed a meet high 117 points toward the final conference point total, highlighted by five individual titles.
“I was real proud of the team today,” Ohio State head coach Robert Gary said after the meet. “We had a number of strong performances, and it was a lot of fun to team up with the other Big Ten schools and beat the SEC.
“We talked as a team this week about the need to get off to a fast start this outdoor season and I feel like our guys took that to heart,” Gary continued. “It was great to see freshmen like Will Lauricella and Cody Marshall step up, as well as veterans like Max Mays and Jared Hall.”
Junior All-American Thomas Murdaugh turned in the performance of the meet, running a blazing time of 46.41 in the 400m to upset Mississippi State All-American Tavaris Tate, the runner-up in 46.61. The Dublin, Ohio, native also anchored the Buckeye 4x400m relay team to a second-place finish in 3:07.73 behind Tate and the Bulldogs (3:05.24). In all, Murdaugh contributed a total of 18 points toward the Big Ten’s cumulative point total.
“Thomas took a big step today in knocking off Tate from MSU,” Gary said of his star junior. “We are looking forward to big things from him this outdoor season.”
Here’s a look at how the Buckeyes performed Saturday:
Demoye Bogle and Barron Witherspoon collected 12 points for the Big Ten in the 110m hurdles. Bogle took second-place in a time of 14.32, while Witherspoon finished fifth in a PR of 14.40m. Indiana’s Derek Drouin was first in 14.31 seconds.
Blake Callahan earned two points with a seventh-place finish in 21.89. Auburn’s Harry Adams finished first in 20.74.
Murdaugh, Marvel Brooks and Korbin Smith helped the Buckeyes amass 15 points for the conference in the 400m. Brooks finished sixth in 48.07, just ahead of seventh-place Smith (48.08).
Marcus Brooks and Aaron Roberts scored seven points for the Buckeyes and the Big Ten in the 400 hurdles. Brooks turned in a fifth-place time of 53.59, while Roberts finished seventh in 55.03. Mississippi State’s Emmanuel Mayers won the event in a time of 52.82.
Ohio State turned in a pair of Top 4 finishes in the 400m, capturing 15 valuable points as a result. Hall recorded a first-place time of 1:52.43, while Jake Hiltner finished fourth in 1:54.04. Second-place went to Georgia’s Danny Neff in 1:52.80.
Sophomore Donny Roys finished fifth in the steeplechase in a time of 9:25.81, collecting four points in the process. Martin Kirui of Ole Miss was the first-place finisher in 9:06.65.
A leap of 7.41m (24-3.75) helped junior Michael Hartfield to 10 points and the long jump title. Second-place went to Purdue’s Chris Kirtz (7.29m/23-11).
Derek Blevins earned six points with a fourth-place performance in the triple jump (14.96m/49-1). Kentrell Sanders of Ole Miss claimed first-place at 15.54m (51 ft.).
Buckeye throwers contributed 15 points toward the conference score. Mays captured first-place with a toss of 58.77m (192-10), while Billy Gehring finished fourth at 56.99m (187 ft.). Matt McHugh of Illinois was the runner-up with a 57.22m (187-9) toss.
Mays followed up his hammer throw effort with a third-place, six point, and personal best performance in the discus (52.23m/171-4). Auburn’s Stephen Saenz took the title at 55.92m (183-5).
Lauricella impressed in his Buckeye debut, setting a PR and collecting 10 points with his first-place mark of 61.36m (201-4). Second-place went to Chris Anderson of Purdue at 60.25m (197-8).
Marshall was the runner-up in the pole vault at 4.90m (16-0.75), producing the eight points of the conference. First-place went to Chris Thoman of Purdue, who cleared 4.90m one vault prior to Marshall to claim the victory.
Ohio State heads to Tucson, Ariz., next Friday and Saturday, April 1-2, for the Jim Click Shootout.
“We are looking forward to classes starting up and heading out west for the shootouts next weekend – should be a fun time,” Gary said.