May 9, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State men's track and field team travels to Madison, Wis., this weekend for the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, looking to capture its first team title in 19 years.
The three-day championship event at Dan McClimon Memorial Track at the University of Wisconsin features one of the deepest fields in recent memory, as a total of eight teams enter the weekend ranked among the Top 40 nationally. No. 8 Indiana is the favorite to repeat as conference champions following its indoor title in February, but a number of squads will challenge the Hoosiers for the top spot, including defending outdoor champ and 21st-ranked Iowa, host and 15th-ranked Wisconsin, No. 17 Nebraska, 25th-ranked Minnesota, winner of two of the last three conference crowns, and the Buckeyes.
Events are scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. ET Friday afternoon. Recaps will be available at the end of each day of competition at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Follow along on Twitter @OhioState_MTRK to keep track of the Buckeyes' progress throughout the weekend.
Days: Friday, May 11 (1:00 p.m. - 10:15 p.m. ET); Saturday, May 14 (10:30 a.m. - 7:45 p.m.); Sunday, May 15 (11:55 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.)
Venue: Dan McClimon Memorial Track/Soccer Complex
Television: BTN will televise the championships on a tape-delayed basis on May 20 at noon ET.
Live Results: http://www.uwathletics.com/live/track/
Cory Leslie - Ranked third nationally in both the 1500m and 3000m steeplechase, Leslie is enjoying his best season as a Buckeye in 2012. The redshirt junior owns a total of five Ohio State records and has set personal bests in both the 1500m and steeplechase during the outdoor campaign.
Thomas Murdaugh - A seven-time Big Ten champion, Murdaugh has run well during the outdoor season despite being limited by injury. He owns the 15th-fastest time in the nation in the 400m dash (45.96) and helped the 4x400m relay team to a blistering time of 3:04.01 at the Drake Relays, a mark that was ultimately vacated due to a controversial lane violation call.
Heath Nickles - The 2012 Big Ten indoor champion in the pole vault and the 2011 outdoor decathlon champion, Nickles owns the nation's 18th-best point total in the decathlon (7,451), a personal-best mark that he set at the Texas Relays in finishing five points off of the Ohio State school record.
Buckeye History at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships
Ohio State has claimed four team championships, 50 top-5 finishes and 147 combined individual/relay titles since the inception of the league finals in 1913.
The Buckeyes' first title came in 1942, led by Robert Wright's victories in the 70-yard high and low hurdles. Coach Larry Snyder earned his second title at Ohio State six years later in 1948, fueled by Buckeye victories in the one-mile relay, 440-yard run, 70-yard high hurdles and broad jump.
The Scarlet and Gray dominated the Big Ten in the early 1990s under longtime coach Russ Rogers, winning back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993 while taking second in both 1991 and 1994. Rogers was named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1993 based on his team's outstanding accomplishments.
The new millennium has witnessed a great deal of Buckeye success in individual competition. Former All-American Andrew Pierce - who still holds the meet record in the 400m dash - was named Athlete of the Championships in 2001. 2004 NCAA champion and former Big Ten Athlete of the Year Dan Taylor holds the championship record in the weight throw.
Recapping the 2011 Big Ten Championships
Murdaugh won an individual title in the 400m dash and anchored the 4x400m relay team to a first-place finish at the 2011 Championships at the University of Iowa, helping Ohio State to third place overall.
The Buckeyes won a total of five individual titles over the three days of competition to close the meet with a total of 109 points. Iowa won its first conference title in more than 40 years on its home track, scoring 125.50 points - 110.50 of those on the final day - in a surprising upset of two-time defending conference champion Minnesota. The Gophers finished in second place with 123 points.
Buckeyes Check-in at No. 31 in USTFCCCA National Rankings, Third Regionally
Ohio State climbed two spots to No. 31 in the May 8 edition of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's national team rankings.
In all, eight Big Ten teams are ranked among the USTFCCCA Top 40, led by eighth-ranked Indiana. Wisconsin checks-in at No. 15, followed by No. 17 Nebraska, No. 21 Iowa, No. 25 Minnesota, No. 29 Penn State, the Buckeyes, and No. 35 Illinois. Florida is the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, with Texas A&M and Texas Tech rounding out the Top 3.
The Buckeyes fair better in the Great Lakes regional rankings, where they are currently ranked third behind Wisconsin and Indiana. Notre Dame is fourth, followed by Michigan.
OSU in the Individual Top 25 Rankings
Six members of the men's track and field team find themselves ranked within the Top 25 in several event areas nationally. A look at where the Buckeyes sit:
Cory Leslie - No. 3 in the 1500m run and 3000m steeplechase
Matt DeChant - No. 10 in the shot put
Thomas Murdaugh - No. 15 in the 400m
Korbin Smith - No. 16 in the long jump
Heath Nickles - No. 18 in the decathlon
Demoye Bogle - No. 24 in the 110m hurdles
Buckeyes Add Nine for 2013
Ohio State interim head coach Ed Beathea announced the signing of nine student-athletes for the 2012-2013 academic year April 10.
"This is the best recruiting class we have put together in my time at Ohio State," Beathea said. "I have been a huge believer in the amount and quality of talent from Ohio and will remain so. However, we expanded our search nationally this year to include recruiting most of our signees from inside the very best on the national list.
I believe our consistency at remaining inside the Top 3 in the conference during the track season and qualifying for the cross country national meet over the last five years has built a strong foundation to start recruiting more talented student-athletes that will help us make the next jump into the elite. It is time to start scoring at nationals and winning Big Ten titles."
In all, the Buckeyes will welcome five Ohio products and four accomplished out-of-state prospects to campus next fall. Meet the future Buckeyes:
Donovan Robertson // Hurdles - Berea, Ohio - Berea
Joseph Velez // Throws - Providence, R.I. - Classical
Champ Page // Sprints - Marlboro, Md. - Henry Wise
Justin Burke // Sprints - Virginia Beach, Va. - First Colonial
Billy Stanley // Javelin - South Park, Pa. - South Park
Steven Weaver // Distance - Napoleon, Ohio - Napoleon
Jack Kincade // Multi-Events - Hilliard, Ohio - Hilliard Davidson
Nicholas Pupino // Distance - Copley, Ohio - Copley
Jordan Redd // Distance - Fairborn, Ohio - Fairborn
Follow the Buckeyes on Facebook and Twitter!
The Ohio State men's track and field team is on Facebook and Twitter. Visit www.facebook.com/OSUtrackXC and www.twitter.com/OhioState_MTRK to catch up on the latest Buckeye news and notes.
Join the Olympian Club!
The Ohio State Olympian Club is a fund-raising initiative that hopes to generate financial support for track and field/cross country projects that are beyond the budget but extremely valuable in enhancing the experiences of the program's student-athletes.
Besides supporting the members of the Ohio State track and field/cross country teams both on and off the track, donations will afford the Buckeyes the opportunity to continue to operate in a first-class manner, while setting a new standard for Division I programs.
For more information, visit the men's track and field home page at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
Last Time Out
The Buckeyes completed final preparations for the Big Ten championships at the Campbell/Wright Invitational in Akron, Ohio, May 5.
Ohio State has week off prior to the NCAA East Regional Preliminaries in Jacksonville, Fla., May 24-26.