COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State women’s track and field team opens the 2008 outdoor season this weekend in Austin, Texas on the campus of the University of Texas in the 81st Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. The event will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 3-5.

Jenna Harris returns for her final season as a Buckeye in the 2008 outdoor season. She returns to the team as Jenna Griffin after her marriage over the summer to former Ohio State sprinter Gerald Griffin. Jenna Griffin holds the Ohio State school record in the indoor 400-meter dash. She also holds the fourth and fifth-best times in Ohio State history in the 100-meter dash and holds the fourth and sixth-best times in OSU history in the 200-meter dash. Griffin is a three-time Big Ten champion and earned All-America honors in the 2007 indoor season in the 400-meter dash.

Veronica Jatsek earned her first Big Ten field athlete of the week award on Jan. 15 after opening the season with a win in the weight throw at the Kentucky Invitational. Jatsek, a native of Walton Hills, Ohio, won the weight toss with a mark of 67 feet, 11 inches topping the field by almost eight feet. The mark for Jatsek provisionally qualifies her for the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. The toss also is the fifth-best in Ohio State history and is the second-best toss of the Jatsek’s career. Last season, Jatsek was an All-American in the weight throw, joining her brother and fellow Buckeye Lenny as an All-American. Jatsek shared the honor with Alicia Rue of Minnesota.

Jatsek earned her second Big Ten field AOW following a personal-best performance at the time in the Akron Open. Jatsek won the weight throw in the Akron Open with a personal-best toss of 68 feet, 8 inches. The throw by Jatsek is the fourth-best toss in the country this season and the best in the Big Ten. Jatsek won event defeating Akron’s Stevi Large, who holds the third-best toss in country this season. Jatsek’s toss also is the eighth-best toss by an American this year. Jatsek also posted a second-place finish in the gold division shot put with a toss of 48 feet, 6 inches.

Jatsek earned her third AOW following a win at the All-Ohio Championships in her final tune up for the Big Ten championships. Jatsek tossed a career-best weight throw with an NCAA-automatic qualifying mark of 69-01.25 (21.06m). Jatsek’s toss ties her with Jessica Pressley of Arizona State for the fourth-best weight toss in the country and is the best in the Big Ten this season. 

Ayrizanna Favours is one of the most versatile sprinters in the Big Ten during the indoor season and is ranked in the Top 5 in the conference in three different events this season. Favours currently holds the top time in the Big Ten in the 60-meter dash with her time at the Akron Open of 7.48.

She is third in the 200-meter dash with a time at the 24.16 at the Kentucky Invitational. Favours also is fifth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 54.52 at the Big Ten/SEC Challenge and is the only sprinter in the Big Ten ranked in the Top 5 in all three events.

Veronica Jatsek and her brother, Lenny, are the first pair of Ohio State siblings competing in track & field to earn All-American honors in the same event in the same season. Both Jatsek siblings have earned indoor All-American honors at least twice. Veronica has earned All-American honors a total of three times with her outdoor All-American honor in 2007 in the hammer throw.

Jatsek earned All-American honors in the weight throw with her fourth-place finish with a distance of 70 feet, 3 3/4 inches. Jatsek has earned All-American honors three-consecutive seasons (2007 indoor weight throw, 2007 outdoor hammer, 2008 indoor weight throw). Jatsek joins Keturah Lofton (2004, 2006) and Katy Craig (2001-02) as the only Ohio State throwers to earn All-American honors twice in the weight throw while Jatsek and Craig are the only OSU throwers to pull it off in back-to-back seasons. As Jatsek heads into the outdoor season she will look to become the first Ohio State thrower to earn All-American honors in four-consecutive seasons.

With the points from Jatsek the Ohio State women’s track and field team finished tied for 39th at the 2008 Indoor NCAA Championships. Ohio State has had a thrower earn All-American honors in the weight throw in three-consecutive seasons. Since 2000, the OSU women’s team has had 17 indoor All-Americans and 31 total.

“We are very proud of the season’s accomplishments of Veronica Jatsek,” Ohio State women’s head Coach Karen Dennis. “Veronica earned this honor through nothing other than hard work and commitment.  We had hoped she would finish in the Top 3, but she certainly improved on last seasons seventh place finish at nationals and we are happy with that. She had solid throwing performances throughout the year including a Big Ten championship performance. Completing the season with an All-American honor is wonderful for Veronica and our program.”

The Big Ten announced its all-conference teams following the 2007 Women’s Indoor Championships in Champagne, Ill. Ohio State had two of the team’s top competitors honored. Veronica Jatsek was named second team All-Big Ten with her second-place finish in the weight throw. Jatsek’s toss of 68-5 3/4 is the fourth-best in Ohio State history and a season-best. It is an NCAA provisional qualifying toss and sixth-best in the country this season. Jatsek had the best throw by a non-senior by 12-11 1/4. It is Jatsek’s first Big Ten postseason award. Jatsek’s brother, Lenny, also took Big Ten honors in the weight throw after winning the league title in the men’s event. It is the first time that a brother-sister combination has taken All-Big Ten honors in the same year since Tonya and Tyrone Williams of Illinois were both on the All-Big Ten team in 1995.

The Buckeyes will split up in two weeks, sending part of the team to the Mt. Sac Relays April 17-20 in Pomona, Calif., and others to the All-Ohio Championships April 18-19 in Cincinnati, Ohio.