Ohio State set to host outdoor meet May 15-17 and looking to better its fifth-place showing in 2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio The Big Ten Conference makes its way to Columbus this weekend for the 2009 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, as the Ohio State women’s track and field team looks to take the field by storm on its home track this weekend.

2009 Championship Basics
Days: Friday, May 15 (12:00-9:15), Saturday, May 16 (9:30-6:45), Sunday, May 17 (10:30-3:45)
Venue: Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium
Admission: Single Session- Adult $7.00, Student $5.00
      All Sessions- Adult $18.00, Student $11.00
Tickets may be purchased by contacting the Ohio State Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-GO-BUCKS or via Ohio
Television: Big Ten Network tape-delayed

The Ohio State Buckeyes
Ayrizanna Favours and Letecia Wright are the leaders of an improving Ohio State women’s track and field squad that features some of the conference’s best sprinters. Favours holds Top 10 times in both the 200m and 400m, including a regional qualifying time in the 400m dash. Wright is a threat in the hurdles, staking claim to the Big Ten’s second-best time in the 100m hurdles, while also posting a Top 10 run in the 200m.

Distance runs have seen the most improvement from the Buckeyes this outdoor season Sarah Foster set the second-fastest 10000m time in school history at the Mt. SAC Relays in April, while Jordan Jennewine has shown significant growth in the 800m and 1500m runs. She holds the second-best time in school history in the 1500m, a record she set at the Jesse Owens Classic in May.

Both relay teams are among the Midwest’s finest the 4x100m team currently holds the third-best time in conference, while the 4x400m team is at the top of the league after its regional qualifying run of 3:35.98 at the Jesse Owens Track Classic, the second-best time in school history.

Maggie Mullen has been the leader in field events for the Buckeyes, breaking just about every school record in the javelin. The freshman from Ontario, Canada now holds the three best marks in Ohio State history, highlighted by her 46.64m effort at the Drake Relays in April, the fourth-best in the Big Ten this year.  

Scouting the Big Ten
No. 9 Michigan is the favorite heading into Friday. The Wolverines feature superstars in Tiffany Ofili and Geena Gall, the No. 1-ranked athletes in the 100m hurdles and 800m dash, respectively. Ofili is one of the nation’s top hurdlers amongst both collegiate and professional athletes. Bettie Wade is ranked No. 3 nationally in the heptathlon with her season-high point total of 5738.

Penn State will look to challenge Michigan. Ranked 21st nationally, the Nittany Lions are led by Gayle Hunter and Fawn Dorr. Hunter holds nationally ranked times/marks in the 100m hurdles and long jump, and was preseason ranked No. 4 in the heptathlon. Dorr was one of the top individuals at the Jesse Owens Classic, winning the 400m hurdles (where she is ranked ninth nationally) and finishing second in the 400m dash. The other top PSU competitor is Bridget Franek, No. 2 in the country in the steeplechase.

No. 27 Illinois will travel to Columbus with Angela Bizzari, one of the nation’s top distance runners. Bizarri holds Top 15 times in the country in the 1500m and 5000m runs. Aja Evans is ranked sixth in the shot put.

Kara Patterson will headline the Purdue contingent at the championships the senior has dominated the league in the javelin and is ranked No. 1 in the nation with her impressive mark of 58.41m. Teammate Mallory Peck is No. 14 in the pole vault.

Other top individuals include Indiana’s Molly Beckwith in the 800m and 1500m, Wisconsin senior Gwen Jorgensen, a threat in long distance events, and Nicole Bush of Michigan State, ranked No. 1 in the country in the 3000m steeplechase.

Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium
The 10,000-seat Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium arguably is one of the finest multi-sport facilities in the country, hosting track and field and lacrosse in the spring and soccer in the fall.

It serves as a cornerstone to the surrounding Ohio State athletic complex that features the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, softball’s Buckeye Field, the field hockey North Turf Field, Bill Davis Stadium and the 19,200-seat Jerome Schottenstein Center.

Buckeye History at the Championships
Ohio State has never won a women’s outdoor track and field title, but has enjoyed a great amount of individual success at the championships.

The Buckeyes took home back-to-back Athlete of the Championship titles in 1999 and 2000. All-American Domnique Calloway received the honor at the 1999 meet after winning the 100m hurdles and contributing to a 4x400m relay victory. Big Ten Athlete of the Year and All-American Donica Merriman followed Calloway in 2000 after winning individual titles in the 100m hurdles, 100m dash and 200m dash, while anchoring the 1st-place 4x400m relay team.

Coach Mamie Rallins guided the Buckeyes to a 2nd-place finish at the 1979 championships, Ohio State’s best finish in school history. The Scarlet and Gray have finished in the Top Five in 19 of the 30 women’s outdoor finals.

2008 Outdoor Championships Recap
The Ohio State women’s track and field took fifth at the 2008 Big Ten Outdoor Championships with 74 points, a five-place improvement from 2007.

The 4×100-meter relay team of Bever-Leigh Holloway, Ayrizanna Favours, Letecia Wright and Jenna Griffin claimed the Big Ten title with the second-best time in Ohio State history with a mark of 44.63. This ends a big week end for the team that set the school record on Saturday with a season-best time of 44.51.

Griffin put on an impressive performance, claiming the title in the 100m dash and second in the 200m dash. Teammate Favours took third in the 200m.
Wright finish third in 100m hurdles final with a time of 13.45. Wright was the only freshman to qualify for the final.

The 4×400-meter of Chandra Krempel, Ashley Caldwell, Griffin and Favours finished second with a regional qualifying time of 3:37.34.

Veronica Jatsek took the title in the hammer throw and fourth in the shot put.

Last Time Out
The 4x400m relay team cruised through a deep and competitive field on their way to a record performance for the Ohio State women’s track and field team May 2 at the 24th Jesse Owens Track Classic.

Ayrizanna Favours crossed the finish line well ahead of the field to complete the Buckeyes’ run of 3:35.98, the fastest time in the Big Ten this season and the second-best in school history.

The Buckeyes won the 4x100m relay with a run of 45.87, the second-best time in the conference this season. Rivals Penn State and Michigan followed in second and third. Michigan holds the top conference time on the year at 45.79.

Ohio State set two regional qualifying times in the 100m hurdles. Letecia Wright finished second with a time of 13.43, the third-best in the conference, while Alana Gray set a personal record in 13.85.

Favours set a regional qualifying time in the 400m dash, finishing in fifth with a time of 54.98, her best run this outdoor season. Favours was in fourth position heading into the final stretch, but tightened up over the last 100m, allowing Indiana All-American Molly Beckwith to pass her for fourth.

Jordan Jennewine recorded a personal best in the 800m run with her ninth-place finish in 2:10.83.

Up Next
Ohio State will compete May 29 and 30 at the NCAA Regional Championships in Louisville, Ky.