Nov. 22, 2006

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Columbus, Ohio — The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete in the 2006 Big Ten Championships in Bloomington, Ind., on the campus of University Indiana Sunday Oct. 29.

Big Ten Championships
The women’s race will start at 10:45 a.m. and will be followed by the men’s race at 11:30 a.m. The men will compete on the 8-kilometer Indiana Cross Country course and the women will run on the 5-kilometer Indiana Cross Country course on the campus Indiana University.

Meet Information:

Last Meet: Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Competes at NCAA Pre-Nationals
Men’s – The men’s cross country team competed against the best teams in the nation Saturday at the 2006 NCAA Pre-National Meet in Terre Haute, Ind. The men’s team placed four of its individual Top 5 in the Top 100 on its way to an 18th-place finish in the 8-kilometer race.

The men’s team received a huge performance from freshman Chad Balyo as he led the team with a 47th-place finish in a time of 24:27.0. Balyo’s time was the third-best by all Big Ten runners Saturday.

Senior Glenn Collins was second on the team, coming in 78th in 24:45.9. Alex Bailey and John Ealy, both juniors, rounded out the Buckeyes that placed in the Top 100 as they finished in a time of 24:45.9 and 24:52.2, respectively. Women’s -The women’s team was led by several underclassmen on its way to a 34th-place finish on the 6K course.

The women’s team was led by the two underclassmen that have led the team most of the season in Rachel Stichter and Sarah Foster.

Stichter fronted the team with a 95th place finish with a career-best time in a 6K of 21:39.4. Foster was second on the team in 22:04.5 to finish 143rd in the event. Melanie Price (22:22.7) and Melanie Grim (22:54.2) came in 174th and 209th, respectively.

Last Season: Men’s Team Captures Second Place at Big Ten Championships, Women Finish Ninth in League
The Ohio State men’s cross country team placed three individuals in the Top 20 en route to claiming a second-place standing at the 2005 Big Ten Championships at the University of Minnesota’s Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights, Minn. The runner-up finish for Ohio State tied the second best finish for the men’s cross country team, equaling second-place finishes at the conference meet in 1977,1940, 1928 and `26. The Buckeyes edged Minnesota by one point for second place with 101 team points.

The Ohio State women’s team improved on its 2004 league standing by two spots Sunday, taking ninth place with 257. Michigan won the women’s title with a team score of 42.

Individually for the men, returning All-American Brian Olinger placed in the Top 10 for the second consecutive season at the league meet. The senior from Fresno, Ohio led the Ohio State record-breaking effort with a 10th-place time of 24:41.98 in the 8-kilometer race. Olinger finished seventh in 2004. Freshman Jeff See and sophomore John Ealy joined Olinger in the Top 20. See turned in a 16th-place finish in a time of 24:59.73, while Ealy took 18th in 25:05.53. Sophomores Glenn Collins and Alex Bailey added significant points as well with 27th- and 30th-place times of 25:22.28 and 25:27.03, respectively.

For the women, Nicole Gliem headed the Buckeye effort for the fourth time in her four races this season. The Columbus native placed 25th on the 6K course in a time of 21:01.24. Melanie Price finished 39th in 22:40.54 and Laura Piper was 53rd with a time of 22:32.89.

Men’s Teams Looks to Have Another Great Year at Big Ten’s
Last season, the men’s team finished second at the Big Ten championships, the second best finish in team history. It also was the fifth time in team history that the Buckeyes were runner up at the league meet.

The team returns four runners from that team that all finished in the Top 30 in the event. Jeff See will look to improve on his 16th-place finish from last year and John Ealy will look to top his 18th -place finish in the conference meet.

Women’s Team Will Look to Improve For a Second Straight Year
After finishing 11th in 2004 at the Big Ten chapionships, the women’s team had the largest improvement of any team in the league as they moved up to ninth last season.

The women’s team will look to make another big jump this season. Ohio State has held steady in the regional rankings this season and also has taken home team titles at both the Xavier and Buckeye Invitationals.

The women’s team has been led by freshman Sarah Foster, who has taken home two individual titles this season and a Big Ten runner of the week award on Sept. 19.

Top 10’s Aplenty For Men’s Team
Coming into the Big Ten championships this season, the men’s team boasts 17 Top 10 finsihes by its runners.

They have been led in Top 10 finishes by Alex Bailey, Glenn Collins and John Ealy, who all have finished in the Top 10 in at least three events. Ealy also has two individual titles to his credit on the season.

Chad Balyo, Matt Buzek and Jeff See each have two Top 10’s. Taylor Candella and Robert Sturges both have one Top 10 finish on the men’s side.

Balyo Makes Big Splash at Pre-Nationals
Freshman Chad Balyo led the Buckeyes to an 18th place-finsh at the NCAA Pre-Nationals with a 47th place finish. This was the best mark in the event by a freshman. It also was the third best among Big Ten runners.

Balyo has been in the teams Top 5 all season and finsihed in the Top 10 of the Xavier (fourth) and Buckeye (sixth) Invitationals.

Foster Making Case For Freshman of The Year
Freshman Sarah Foster has made a strong case for Big Ten freshman of year with several impressive performances.

In Foster’s first meet as a Buckeye, she led the women’s team to a title at the Xavier Invitational with a first-place finish.

A week later, Foster took the individual title in the Buckeye Invitational, leading the women to its second straight win. For her performance at the Buckeye Invitational, Foster received Big Ten runner of the week honors.

Bailey Lands Big Ten Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week Award on Oct. 10
Alex Bailey, a junior on the men’s cross country team, was named Big Ten Runner of the Week by the conference office Oct. 10. Bailey led the Buckeyes to the All-Ohio Championship team title for the second season in a row. He finished third overall with an 8K time of 25:33.6.

In a field of 42 teams and 286 runners, Bailey finished just three seconds behind the individual winner and helped Ohio State to a 45-point win over second-place Cincinnati. In 2005, the Columbus native finished second in the All-Ohio individual race and garnered his first weekly conference honor Oct. 11, 2005.

Three Meets, Three Big Ten R.O.W.’s For The Men’s Team
With Alex Bailey’s Big Ten runner of the week award following the All-Ohio Championships, the men’s team took home the conference honor in each of its first three meets.

Fellow Junior John Ealy won ROW honors following the Xavier (Sept. 12) and Buckeye Invitational (Sept. 19).

Also with Bailey’s award the men’s team now has been honored with more runners of the week than any other team in the conference over the last two seasons.

Foster Grabs First Career Women’s Award on Sept. 19
Sarah Foster, a freshman on the women’s team, was named Big Ten Co-Runner of the Week by the conference office Sept. 19.

Foster, in her first year at Ohio State after competing at Milan High School in Milan, Ohio, bested the Buckeye Invite field in a time of 18:13.71 in the 5K race.

Foster led the women’s team in its two wins at the Xavier and Buckeye Invitational by taking the individual title in both races.

Women’s Team Equals 2005 Win Total in First Two Meets
The women’s team posted two wins in its first two meets of the season which equals the teams first place finishes from a year ago.

The Buckeyes took the team title in both the Xavier Invitational Sept. 9 and the Buckeye Invitational Sept. 15.

In both meets the women’s team was led by two underclassmen, freshman Sarah Foster and sophomore Rachel Stichter. Foster took first place in both events and Stichter finished second in the first two meets.

New Buckeyes Make Big Debuts
The men’s and women’s teams both received big performances from some of their newcomers at the Xavier Invitational on Sept. 9.

The women’s team got a huge effort from freshman Sarah Foster, who won the Xavier Invitational in a time of 18:28.26. Laura Neufarth, also a freshmen took ninth at Xavier in her first race as a Buckeye coming in with a time of 19:19.70. Emily Thompson(20:09.07) came in 13th in her first meet with the Buckeyes and Kelly Schweiterman(20:32.90) crossed the finish line 15th.

On the men’s side, Chad Balyo made his Buckeye debut by coming in fourth at Xavier in a time of 15:42.00. Taylor Candella suited up for the first time for cross country at Xavier and came in sixth in a time of 15:43.42.

Christopher Olinger made his Ohio State debut at the Buckeye Invitational as he came in 14th with a time of 22:47.8.

Robert Gary Named Men’s Head Track Coach
Robert Gary was named Ohio State’s seventh men’s track and field head coach Monday in an announcement made by Miechelle Willis, Ohio State’s senior associate athletics director. Men’s cross country head coach at Ohio State since his graduation from OSU in 1996, Gary succeeds Russ Rogers, who retired in June after 19 seasons with the Buckeyes.

“Being named the track and field head coach at my alma mater is almost beyond my dreams,” Gary, who has been named Ohio Cross Country Coach of the Year five of the last six seasons, said. “Being a part of the outstanding track and field tradition at The Ohio State University is truly an honor.

“I will be committed to building a complete track and field team. We will create a culture for our student-athletes to achieve their academic and athletic goals. I envision a balanced team with all the event areas working toward a common goal of a Big Ten championship.”

A two-time Olympian (1996 Atlanta Games and 2004 Athens Games) in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Gary was named 2005 Great Lakes Region Cross Country Coach of the Year last season. He led the men’s cross country squad to a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Championships, third place in the Great Lakes meet and a No. 11 standing at the 2005 NCAA Championships.

On the track last season, Gary mentored Brian Olinger to his second-consecutive All-American season, upping Gary’s total to 11 All-America awards in men’s distance at Ohio State. Olinger, a senior, also claimed the Big Ten 10,000-meter title, moving Gary’s total to 16 conference distance champions.

The 2004 track and field season could possibly serve as Gary’s best campaign as a pair of Buckeyes scored Top 4 finishes in their respective events at the NCAA championships. Rob Myers (2001-04) took fourth in the men’s 1,500-meter run before placing third at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in a career-best time of 3:38.93. In addition, Aaron Fisher (2002-05) clocked a fourth-place time in the men’s steeple at the NCAA championships, ahead of Olinger, who turned in a Top 20 performance. In 2005, Fisher again claimed All-America honors in the steeple, while Olinger nabbed his first All-America award in the indoor 5,000m. Olinger also posted some of his top times in the steeple in 2005, highlighted by a fourth-place finish and career-best 8:28.44 at the USA Nationals and an 8:19.56 at an international meet in Belgium. The 8:19.56 mark ranks second all-time in the American collegiate ranks. Only Ohio State’s Mark Croghan (1988-91), a two-time NCAA champion in the steeple, has a better mark as a collegiate student-athlete.

Gary also guided Ian Connor (1998-2001) to four Big Ten crowns and two All-America honors in the indoor 5,000 meters and steeplechase.

Connor, Olinger and Myers all hail from Ohio. Gary intends to continue to recruit in-state prospects and extend his success in the distance area to all events.

“I am very excited to begin staffing, so we can begin recruiting as soon as possible,” Gary, who retired from competitive running in 2006, said. “I am dedicated to building a similar `recruiting wall’ around the state of Ohio that our cross country program has been able to do. Some of the greatest track and field recruits in the country are from Ohio and I look forward to this great challenge.”

As a student-athlete at Ohio State, Gary was a four-time All-American and Big Ten champion. In 2004, he became the fifth former Buckeye to gain a bid to two separate U.S. Olympic teams by placing third in the men’s steeplechase at the Olympic Trials with a career-best 8:19.46. His third-place finish gained an automatic bid on the U.S. team headed to the Athens Games.

Gary also earned accolades in cross country, winning the 2004 Track and Field News Cross Country Runner of the Year award. Gary qualified for the U.S. team for the second straight season in both the 4- and 12-kilometer events. He finished as the top American at the 2004 World Championships in the 4K. Gary’s 2004 qualification to the world championships in two events marked the first time a U.S. runner made both teams in consecutive years.

Up Next
The men’s and women’s teams head to the campus of Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio for the Great Lakes Regional Championships Nov. 11.