COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s track and field team opened its 2010 campaign Saturday afternoon inside newly-renovated French Field House.

Mixing skilled veterans with fresh faces, the Buckeyes enjoyed a solid debut in front of their hometown fans, seeing contributions from nearly every event area.

“This was a good opening meet for us,” head coach Karen Dennis said of the 2010 opener. “You never know what you have until the gun goes off, so it was a good opportunity to put us in a competitive, yet low key environment.”

Although Ohio State witnessed significant improvement across the board, the Buckeyes’ sprints and hurdles continued to carry the Buckeye torch. Perhaps the best race of the day came in the 400m dash, as a pair of Buckeyes dueled for the top spot. Sophomore Shaniqua McGinnis, the anchor of Ohio State’s Big Ten champion 4x400m relay team, squeaked by senior Latoya Sanderson at finish line with a time 57.30. Sanderson’s run of 57.68 put her well ahead of third-place finisher Shawnta Davis (1:00.12).

Another battle between two Buckeyes took place in the 60m dash. Sophomore Christina Manning, with a time of 7.66, edged junior Letecia Wright at the finish line. Wright’s time of 7.72 was enough to hold off Dayton’s Brittany Thomas, who finished third with a sprint of 7.76.

Wright got the better of Manning in the 60m hurdle finals, claiming the top spot with an NCAA provisional time of 8.38. Manning’s time of 8.65 gave her a third-place finish, just behind Wright State’s Cassandra Lloyd (8.63).

Ohio State put together a solid team effort in the long jump, led by Kelcey McKinney. The sophomore from Dayton won the competition with a mark of 5.82m (19-1.25), tying her 2009 season-best. Manning was second with a jump of 5.73m (18-9.75), followed by Rachael Mack (5.67m/18-7.25) and Megan Thuney (5.37m/17-7.50).

Mack had better luck in the triple jump, taking first with a mark of 11.38m (37-4). Wright State’s Heather Parrish claimed runner-up at 11.03m (36-2.25m).

Senior Ashley Caldwell won the 800m run title in a time of 2:18.44. The Indianapolis, Ind. native had just enough to hold off Dayton’s Maureen Bulgrin (2:19.09) and Findlay’s Lindsay Schmitmeyer (2:19.29). Kesha Brooks finished fourth for the Buckeyes in 2:25.39.

A pair of Dayton Flyers went one-two in the weight throw – Kerry Allen won the event with a mark of 18.11m (59-5), while Mallory Barnes placed second at 18.04m (59-2.50). Ohio State sophomore Stephanie Enarusai finished third with a toss of 16.74m (54-11.25), followed by teammates Alexis Thomas (16.55m/54-3.75) and Maggie Mullen (15.96m/52-4.50) – all three Buckeyes set personal records.

Dayton followed up its one-two finish in the weight throw with of sweep of the Top 3 of the pole vault – Courtney Siebenaller led the Flyer charge with a vault of 3.65m (11-11.75). Ashley Bowden was the top Buckeye finisher, placing fourth with a mark of 3.35m (10-11.75).

The Flyers and Buckeye battled in the 1000m run. Ohio State’s Molly Jacobson and Sarah Lowe got off to an early lead, but were unable to hold off Liz Coorey (10:11.93) and Elissa Mason (10:14.20) down the stretch. Jacobson would settle for a third-place finish (10:17.62), while Lowe placed fifth with a run of 10:29.53.

Maureen Bulgrin of Dayton won the mile run with a time of 5:03.13, followed by Buckeye freshman Melissa Meade, who set a PR with her time of 5:05.59. UD’s Ashley Cattran put a cap on the Top 3 with a run of 5:08.23.

Ohio University’s Cathy Udeani captured the win in the high jump, clearing the bar at 1.65m (5-5). Tiffany Masky of Dayton was second, followed by Buckeye sophomore Alison Roquet (1.55m/5-1).

Norianna Brown took home the title in the shot put with a mark of 14.29m (46-10.75). Dayton’s Johanna Zaccari placed second at 14.01m (45-11.75), while Maggie Mullen’s shot of 13.84m (45-5) earned  her a third place finish.

Heading into next weekend’s trip to the Kentucky Invitational, Dennis is pleased with the progress her squad has made so early into the year:

“I really saw a good all around effort from our team,” Dennis said. “We are really coming together as a team and getting contributions from every event area. That gives us something to build on.”