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COLUMBUS, Ohio – There were just two point-producing finals Friday, the first day of the three-day Big Ten Conference men’s and women’s track and field championships being held in Champaign, Ill., but Ohio State scored enough points to be third in the women’s competition and eighth in the men’s. The championships are being held at the University of Illinois at its new Demirjian Park/Gary R. Wieneke Track.
The headline-grabbing result of the day was by Sade Olatoye, the master’s degree candidate pursuing bioethics, who won her second Big Ten outdoor title and her seventh Big Ten crown overall by taking first in the hammer with a new Big Ten championships throw of 68.9m / 226-0.
Olatoye took the lead after her first throw that sailed 64.95m / 213-1 and then regained the lead on her second toss, the record-setter, which sailed past the previous record of 67.42m / 221-2 set by Temi Ogunrinde, of Minnesota, in 2019.
Olatoye thus becomes Ohio State’s first hammer throw champion since Alexis Thomas won it back-to-back in 2012-13. Olatoye also passes Buckeye greats Shandi Boyd-Pleasant and Rosalind Goodwin for the most individual Big Ten championships in school history in the field events – seven. Olatoye has won four Big Ten shot put titles – indoors in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and outdoors in 2017, two Big Ten weight throw titles (2017 and 2019) and now the hammer title.
“You cannot be serious!”
Senior pole vaulter Robby Oswald had a fine, fine final Big Ten Conference championships meet. He finished second but not before obliterating his all-time personal best – indoors or outdoors – with a vault of 5.42m / 17-9 1/4. His effort was good for eight team points.
But it could have been better. Oswald and Indiana’s Nathan Stone each cleared the same height and had the same number of misses. Organizers called for a jump off, but Oswald had tweaked a leg muscle on his last miss. He couldn’t participate in the jump off and an arcane rule awarded the title to Stone under the ruling that Oswald forfeited because he couldn’t attempt a jump.
John McEnroe would have lost it.
Moving on to finals
Four Buckeyes advanced out of Friday preliminary round races to Sunday finals. Anavia Battle qualified first for the 200 finals while Yanique Dayle qualified third with a personal best time of 23:53. Battle’s season’s best time in the 200 (22.65) is the fourth-fastest time in the country based on times coming into today. She also has a Top 10 time in the 100 (11.10).
And in the men’s 200, Tyler Johnson and Eric Harrison qualified No. 1 and No. 2 for that finals. Johnson cruised to a new personal best in the 200 of 20.60 while Harrison went 20.69, a season’s best for him.
In addition, Emma Nwofor is sitting in second place after the first four events of the heptathlon with 3,445 points. Alexus Pyles is in scoring position as well; she’s fifth with 3,219 points. The final three events – the long jump, javelin and 800 – are Saturday.
Buckeyes who set new personal bests Friday included:
Buckeyes will be competing in 12 events on Saturday, including the finals of the heptathlon, men’s discus, women’s shot put, women’s long jump and the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase.