May 9, 2001

%^$COLUMBUS, Ohio–The Buckeyes travel to Bloomington, Ind., Saturday, May 12 to compete in the Billy Hayes Invitational. The invitational begins at 12:45 p.m. with the men’s javelin, shot put, high jump, and the men’s and women’s long jump all coinciding. The first running event will be the men’s 3,000m steeplechase at 1:25 p.m. More than 600 athletes from over 20 schools will attend the Billy Hayes Invitational. Teams from Purdue, Michigan State, and Notre Dame, as well as unattached professional and amateur athletes are expected to compete%^$

%^$End of the Road
%^$This weekend marks the Buckeyes’ final meet of the regular season, as they will return to Bloomington next week for the Big Ten Championships May 18-20. The athletes will compete in fewer events this weekend in an effort to keep them healthy and focused for the Championships.%^$

%^$Last Year at the Billy Hayes
%^$The Buckeyes only competed in two events during the Billy Hayes Invitational last year and won both. All-American Ian Connor (Sr., Lexington, Ohio) took first place in the 1,500-meter run with a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 3:43.90. Rob Myers (So., Rushville, Ohio) won the 800 with a time of 1:49.51 which was not only a personal record, but also became the fastest time in Big Ten during that point in the season.%^$

%^$The Dynamic Duo
%^$All-Americans Andrew Pierce (Sr., Yellow Springs, Ohio) and Donica Merriman (Sr., Trotwood, Ohio) last competed in the Billy Hayes Invitational in 1999 and were victorious in their respective events. Pierce won the 400-meter dash with a time of 46.51 seconds. Merriman won the 200 with a time of 23.35 and was the top collegiate finisher in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.41.%^$

%^$Buckeyes In The Rankings
%^$The Buckeyes continue to make their presence known as 10 athletes and three relay teams are nationally ranked in the most recent performance list released by the NCAA (May 8).%^$

%^$All-American Donica Merriman continues to hold the No. 4 spot in the 100-meter hurdles with her NCAA automatic qualifying time of 12.95 seconds. She also broke into the rankings (No. 19) with her provisional qualifying time of 23.41 in the 200-meter dash. Onica Fraser (So., Brooklyn, N.Y.) drops to the No. 25 spot in the 400, Tami Smith (So., Galloway, Ohio) moves down a notch to No. 16 in the high jump, Alexis McCall (Fr., Elyria, Ohio) moves down to No. 22 in the shot put and Katy Craig (Jr., Hilliard, Ohio) slides down to No. 11 in the hammer throw. In addition, the women’s 4×400-meter relay team of Fraser, Merriman, Dalanda Jackson (Fr., Shaker Heights, Ohio) and Tina Johnson (Sr., Burlington, N.J.) get bumped to No. 23.%^$

%^$For the men, All-American Andrew Pierce moved up to No. 3 after notching a NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 45.02 in the 400. All-American Ian Connor moved down a spot to No. 9 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, throwers Dan Taylor (Fr., Middlefield, Ohio) and Jeff Matcha (So., Middleton, Wis.) move to No. 18 and No. 31, respectively, and George Hoover (Fr., Erie, Pa.) slides down to No. 10 in the javelin. Both the “A” and “B” 4×400 teams are ranked. The “B” team of Courtney Cornwall (Sr., Inwood, N.Y.), Thomas Dickson (Sr., St. Vincent, West Indies), Joel Brown (So., Baltimore, Md.) and Pierce is No. 12 while the “A” team of Edison Francis (Sr., St. James, Trinidad), Cornwall, Dickson and Pierce is No. 17.%^$

%^$The Road to the NCAA Outdoor Championships
%^$Ohio State hopes to add to their current list of NCAA outdoor qualifiers. The Buckeyes currently boast two automatic qualifiers and 12 provisional marks.%^$

%^$Donica Merriman%^$100-meter hurdles 12.95 Automatic 4/13/01%^$ 13.06 Automatic 4/27/01%^$ 13.19 Provisional 5/6/01%^$100-meter dash 11.55 Provisional 4/21/01%^$200-meter dash 23.41 Provisional 5/6/01%^$

%^$Onica Fraser%^$400-meter dash 53.65 Provisional 03/24/01%^$

%^$Tami Smith%^$High Jump 1.80m Provisional 3/24/01%^$

%^$Katy Craig%^$Hammer 57.60m Provisional 3/24/01%^$ 58.86m Provisional 4/21/01%^$ 56.48m Provisional 4/28/01%^$ 57.09m Provisional 5/6/01%^$Alexis McCall%^$Shot Put 14.93m Provisional 4/7/01%^$ 15.49m Provisional 4/28/01%^$ 15.46m Provisional 5/6/01%^$Andrew Pierce%^$200-meter dash 20.7 Provisional 4/21/01%^$400-meter dash 45.81 Provisional 3/24/01%^$ 45.73 Provisional 4/13/01%^$ 45.97 Provisional 4/21/01%^$ 45.02 Automatic 5/6/01%^$Ian Connor%^$3,000-meter steeplechase 8:50.54 Provisional 4/13/01%^$ 8:44.01 Provisional 4/26/01%^$George Hoover%^$Javelin 70.34m Provisional 4/7/01%^$ 68.70m Provisional 4/21/01%^$ 67.40m Provisional 4/28/01%^$ 69.54m Provisional 5/6/01%^$Jeff Matcha%^$Shot Put 17.81m Provisional 3/24/01%^$

%^$Dan Taylor%^$Shot Put 18.31m Provisional 4/28/01%^$

%^$Men’s 4×400-meter relay%^$ 3:06.54 Provisional 4/14/01%^$ 3:05.49 Provisional 4/28/01%^$Women’s 4×400-meter relay%^$ 3:36.05 Provisional 4/28/01%^$%^$

%^$Jesse Owens Recap
%^$The Buckeyes held their own against strong competition at the Jesse Owens Track Classic this past weekend. In their only home meet of the season, the team grabbed nine first first-place awards and nine second-place awards in a full day of competition. The Buckeyes also added to their list of NCAA qualififiers. All-American Andrew Pierce guaranteed his ticket to Eugene with a automatic qualifying time of 45.02 in the 400. All-American Donica Merriman (100-meter hurdles and 200-meter dash), Katy Craig (Hammer), Alexis McCall (Shot Put) and George Hoover (Javelin) earned provisional qualifying marks in their respective events.%^$

%^$Big Ten Athlete Of The Week
%^$Donica Merriman was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week based on her performance at the Jesse Owens Track Classic this past weekend. Merriman posted individual wins in the 100-meter hurdles with a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 13.19 seconds. She followed that performance with a winning, season-best time of 23.41 in the 200-meter dash, also a NCAA provisional qualifying mark. Earlier in the day, Merriman anchored the 4×100-meter relay team to a second place finish with a season-best time of 45.49 seconds. This marks the second time Merriman has received the honor this season. She previously was honored April 16.%^$

%^$Meet The Coach
%^$In his 13 years at Ohio State, Russ Rogers has produced 100 Big Ten indoor and outdoor track and field champions, 10 NCAA indoor and outdoor champions and 65 All-Americans. His 1993 teams alone produced 16 All-Americans and 12 Big Ten champions in both indoor and outdoor events. Rogers has more than 30 years of head coaching experience in national and international track and field. Rogers came to Ohio State from Fairleigh Dickinson University, located in Teaneck, N.J., where he was the head coach for both the men’s and women’s track and field and cross country teams for 10 years.%^$

%^$Looking Ahead
%^$The Buckeyes head back to Bloomington, Ind., for three days of competition in the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, hosted by Indiana University at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex. Events are scheduled to begin Friday at 1 p.m., Saturday at 10:30 a.m., and Sunday at 12:40 p.m. EST.