Feb. 15, 2007

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s track and field team hosts the Buckeye Invitational on Saturday. The meet will be the final event before the Big Ten Championships in Bloomington, Indiana.

Days: Saturday – 10 am. – 4:25 pm.
Venue: French Field House
Meet Information:

BUCKEYE INVITE FIELD Ohio State (M) Marshall (M) Ashland (W) Ashland (M) Cincinnati (M) Team Good River (M) Washington & Jefferson (M) Washington & Jefferson (W) Kentucky State (W) Shawnee State (M) Elite Athletics (W) BG Track Club (M) Ohio State (W) Team IST (M) All Star Training Club (M) Team Good River (W) Tennessee Tech (W) Ohio U. (W) Ohio U. (M) Kentucky State (M) Marshall (W) Wittenberg (M) Wittenberg (W) Shawnee State (W) District of Columbia (W)

Friday – The Ohio State women’s track and field team competed in first-day action at the 2007 Sykes-Sabock Challenge Friday in State College, Pa. Sophomore Ayrizanna Favours continued her strong indoor season with a second-place finish in the 60-meter dash. Fellow sophomore Veronica Jatsek also performed well with a third-place mark in the weight.

Favours did not turn in one of the top prelim times, but dashed to a 7.51 to claim runner-up in the final. The Ohio State distance medley relay also ran Friday and took fifth in a time of 11:55.23. Jatsek was the star in the field for Ohio State with a heave of 63 feet, 7 inches to take third in the weight.

Saturday – The Ohio State women’s track and field team completed action at the Skykes-Sabock Challenge Saturday with a fifth-place team finish. The Buckeyes were lead by the 4×400-meter relay team of Chandra Krempel, Jenna Harris, Ashley Caldwell and Ayrizanna Favours that placed second in a school-record time.

The relay team set the school record for second-consecutive week with a time of 3:38.68, setting a NCAA provisional qualifying mark. Individually on the track, the Buckeyes were lead by Harris, who took second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 53.27. She was followed closely by Favours, who took third in a time of 53.47. Harris’ time is the second-best in Ohio State history in the 400m and Favours’ time is the third-best all-time. Both times are NCAA provisional qualifying marks and are two of the Top 8 times in the country this season.

In the field, senior Jessica Stringer came in third in the high jump with a mark of 5-10. Her mark is tied for the fifth-best in Ohio State history and is tied for the 15th best jump in the country this year. Veronica Vance took second in the triple jump with a leap of 40-3 1/2, tying her best mark of the season.

At the New Balence Invitational the Buckeye set the school record in the 4×400-meter relay with a time of 3:39.77.

With this mark the team of Chandra Krempel, Ashley Caldwell, Ayrizonna Favours and Jenna Harris topped the mark last season by .18 seconds. All except Caldwell were members of the team that set the mark a season ago.

A week later at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge the same team broke that record with a time of 3:38.68.

This NCAA provisional mark is not that suprising because both Favours and Harris are currently ranked in the Top 10 in the country in the 400-meter dash.

The time is currently the third best time in the Big Ten this season and is the 18th best 4x400m relay time in the country.

In the 400-meter dash the Buckeyes have two of the Top 10 times in the country this season with Jenna Harris (fifth-53.27) and Ayrizonna Favours (eighth-53.47).

With a time of 3:38.68 the women’s 4×400 relay team are 18th in the country in the event.

Veronica Jatsek is also in the national rankings in the weight throw with her throw 65-3 3/4. Jatsek is currently ranked 13th nationally.

The Buckeyes have several women in the Top 5 in there events. Senior Jenna Harris is second in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.39 at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational.

This time was a personal best for Harris and the second best in Ohio State history in the event. The time is also in the Top 25 in the country this season. Ayrizanna Favours is currently fourth in the 60m with a time of 7.51 at Penn State.

Harris also has is also third in the Big Ten in the 400-meter dash with her time of 53.27. Harris is followed by Favours with a time of 53.47. These times also provisional qualifies them for the NCAA championships.

The women’s 4×400-meter relay team is currently third in the league with it’s time of 3:38.68 at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge.

Jessica Stringer, a three time Big Ten champion in the high jump, is tied for second in the Big Ten season with a jump of 5-10. This jump is tied for 19th in the country this year.

In the weight throw Veronica Jatsek is second in the Big Ten with her NCAA provisional toss of 65-3 3/4. This mark came at the New Balance Invite and is the best toss in the conference by a junior.

Karen Dennis, Ohio State women’s track and field head coach, announced Friday the signing of recruit Laura Allred, a high jumper from Cypress, Texas. A participant in the 2006 U.S. Junior Nationals meet, Allred owns a personal-best mark of 5 feet, 8 inches.

Allred holds the high jump record at Cy-Fair High School and helped the team to district championships in each of the last two seasons. A participant in the 2006 U.S. Junior Nationals meet, Allred claimed the 2005 and 6 district high jump titles. She also was named district jumper of the year the last two seasons.

“We are excited about Laura signing in the early signing period, Dennis, in her first season as Ohio State head coach, said. She is the fourth best high school high jumper returning for the 2007 year. She is smart, highly motivated and really studies her craft. We believe with hard work she will become one of the finest high jumpers in our conference, and nationally. It’s also good to have made an impact on the great state of Texas.”

Allred was a 2006 Jr. Olympic qualifier and National Youth Elite Athlete All-American. She was named to the 2006 All-Greater Houston Track and Field Team after taking third place at the Texas Relays. Overall, Allred has 18 event titles in her scholastic career.

A Special Olympics volunteer, Allred is a member of the Cy-Fair honor roll and serves as a mentor in her community.

Jenna Harris is making the most of her senior season and rewriting the Ohio State record books. Harris has taken aim at two school record so far this season.

Harris as a member of the 4×400-meter relay team set a record at the New Balance Invite with a time of 3:39.77. Harris was also apart of the team that broke that record a week later in a time of 3:38.63.

Harris almost took down another school record in the same day. In the 60-meter dash Harris set a personal best time of 7.39 just .07 off the school record.

Harris second in the Ohio State record book in the 400-meter dash with her time of 53.27 at the Kentucky Invitational. Harris is followed closely by current Buckeye Ayrizanna Favours, who ran the same time at the Indiana Team Classic.

In only her second season sophomore Ayrizanna Favours is making a name for herself as one of the best 400-meter runners in Ohio State history. She currently holds the three of the top seven time in Ohio State history in the 400 (3rd-53.47, T4th-54.14, 7th).

Favours has also been a member of the last three 4×400-meter relays teams to break the school record (2006-3:39.95; 2007, Armory-3:39.77; 2007 Sykes-Sabock-3:38.63).

Favours time at Penn State provisional qualifies her for the NCAA championships and it is the eighth best time in the country.

Sophomore Kim Willet tied the third best mark in school history in the pole vault last week with her winning jump at Akron of 11-11 3/4.

This gives Willet the second and third best marks in Ohio State history in the pole vault.

Willet is still after Becky Heintz school record of 12-5 1/2 set in 2004.

Karen Dennis begins her first season as head coach of Ohio State women’s track and field in 2007. A split program for the first time since 1993, the women’s team returns several accomplished veterans, who have experienced success in Big Ten competition and on a nation scale. That group will have the opportunity to mesh with a talented assembly of newcomers in 2007.

“I am excited for this opportunity,” Dennis, a Detroit native who ran collegiately at Michigan State, said. “We plan to make great strides in this new era at Ohio State and refocus attention to the superior product we have here and move in a winning direction.

“Ohio State has a great tradition. There are so many great teams here and I’m proud to be a part of that. I want to make Ohio State the premier team in the conference and a top team nationally.”

Dennis, in her third stint as a head coach, having previously directed the Michigan State and UNLV women’s programs, welcomes back a pair of Big Ten champions in sprinter Jenna Harris and high jumper Jessica Stringer. Both All-Big Ten and All-District NCAA Academic award winners, Harris and Stringer have combined to claim five Big Ten titles in their careers. Harris won the 60-meter and 100-meter dashes at the 2005 indoor and outdoor Big Ten meets, while Stringer has won the last three league high jump titles at the 2006 indoor and 2005 and ’06 outdoor meets.

Fellow seniors Janell Mitchell, Melanie Price and Veronica Vance also add leadership. Price, who owns the Ohio State record in the steeplechase, will captain a veteran distance squad. Mitchell will represent the Buckeyes in sprints, hurdles, relays and jumps, while Vance will look to score again at the Big Ten meet in the long and triple jump events. Vance, a transfer in 2005 from Bowling Green, topped the Buckeyes in the long and triple jumps during both the indoor and outdoor campaigns and will vie for a league crown this season.

Several underclassmen gained valuable experience in 2006. In her first season with the Scarlet and Gray, Ayrizanna Favours earned All-Big Ten second-team honors in the outdoor 400 meters and qualified for her first NCAA Mideast Regional. Fellow sophomores Bever-Liegh Holloway (hurdles), Jessica Jones (sprints/relays) and Chandra Krempel bolster a solid Buckeye sprints squad and combine with Harris and Mitchell to present a formidable relay units as well. The group set the OSU indoor 4x400m relay record last season, turning in a 3:39.95.

Kim Willet, Ohio State’s pole vault record-holder, is back for her sophomore season as well, while classmate Veronica Jatsek is the top returning thrower.

Ohio State’s season kicks off at the Kentucky Invitational in Lexington, Ky., Jan. 12 before heading to Big Ten country in back-to-back trips to Bloomington, Ind., for a tri-meet with Indiana and Purdue (Jan. 20) and the Indiana Invitational (Jan. 26-27).

The Buckeyes head for another Big Ten site for the Sykes-Sabock Challenge in State College, Pa., Feb. 10, prior to returning to Columbus to play host to the regular-season finale Buckeye Invitational (Feb. 17) in French Field House.

The league indoor championships are slated to run Feb. 24-25 in Champaign, Ill. After Ohio State student-athletes attempt a final time to qualify for the national meet March 2-3 at the Alex Wilson Last Chance in South Bend, Ind., those who gain a NCAA bid will compete March 8-10 in Fayetteville, Ark.

The outdoor slate gets underway March 21-24 at the Arizona State Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. The Buckeyes head back to their home state April 6-7 for the All-Ohio Championships in Cincinnati.

Ohio State will utilize a selected squad to compete the next two weeks at the Sea Ray Relays April 13-14 in Knoxville, Tenn., and Oregon Invitational (April 20-21) in Eugene, Ore. Select members of the team also will travel the next week (April 25-28) to either the Penn Relays, Drake Relays or Stanford Invite.

Ohio State’s feature home event is the Jesse Owens Track Classic, held May 4-5 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. “The Jesse” will celebrate its 22nd running in 2007.

This season, the Mideast Regional will be hosted by the University of Missouri and run May 25-26, two weeks prior to the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships, which again will be held in Sacramento, Calif.

In August, Ron Davis and Qingyi Zheng were named women’s track and field assistant coaches by head coach Karen Dennis. Davis will serve as distance coach and Zheng will guide field and multi-event athletes. Davis comes to Ohio State from South Alabama and Zheng last coached at Michigan State.

Both Davis and Qingyi Zheng (SHIN-yee ZENG) have coached track and field for more than 30 years.

“I’m excited both Ron and Qingyi decided to join our staff,” Dennis said. “They have the experience to hit the ground running and provide quality coaching our student-athletes deserve. I am familiar with both coaches and I think they will add that extra ingredient to move our program in a winning direction.”

Davis, a former track and field and cross country head coach at New Orleans and Maryland-Eastern Shore, headed the South Alabama distance program the last four seasons and guided the Jaguars to new levels of success in both cross country and track. Last season, he mentored Vincent Rono to South Alabama’s first individual NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship in the 1,500-meter run.

In the 2006 indoor season, South Alabama’s men’s distance team dominated the Sun Belt Conference championships, becoming the first unit in league history to sweep the 800m, mile, 3,000m, and 5,000m events. The men’s team also established six team records during the outdoor schedule.

Prior to his stint at USA, Davis directed the New Orleans women’s cross country program to a Sun Belt Championship in 2000, the first in school history.

Zheng previously coached with Dennis at UNLV from 1997-2002. He then directed field and multi-events at Michigan State until 2005.

During Zheng’s tenure at UNLV, the Lady Rebels finished second in the Mountain West Conference each of his last three seasons and eight individuals claimed league titles. Zheng also was an assistant coach on the 2001 U.S. Women’s Track and Field team for the World University Games in Beijing, China. Zheng returned to Beijing in August as jumps coach of the U.S. team at the 2006 World Junior Championships.

Prior to his stint at UNLV, Zheng was a men’s assistant coach at the University of Idaho from 1993-97. While at Idaho, the Vandals won the Big Sky Outdoor Track and Field championship in 1995 and 1996, and the 1997 Big West Outdoor Track and Field championship.

The Buckeyes will head to the Big Ten Championships on feb. 24-25 in Bloomington Indiana on the campus of Indiana University.