Buckeye Classic Opens the 2016 Season



Jan. 7, 2016

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State track and field team opens the 2016 season this Friday, Jan. 8, as hosts of the Buckeye Classic at French Field House.

Ohio State begins its second season as a combined men’s and women’s program under the leadership of Karen Dennis, director of track & field and cross country. Dennis is entering her 14th season overall in Columbus.

Field events at French Field House begin Friday at 4 p.m. ET, followed by running events at 5 p.m. Admission is free. Parking is free in the north French Field House/St. John Arena lots and south French Field House lot. 

Live results are available at the above link and scoring updates will be available on Twitter, @OhioState_TFXC. A complete recap will be featured after the meet at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

Top Indoor Returners
Donovan Robertson – Robertson is a four-time All-American for the Buckeyes and the Ohio State school-record holder in the 60-meter hurdles (7.65). As a redshirt freshman in 2014, Robertson earned First Team All-America and Big Ten runner-up honors in both the 60- and 110-meter hurdles. Last season, Robertson battled injuries to earn fourth in the 60 hurdles and a bronze in the 110-meter hurdles at the conference championships.

J.C. Murasky – Murasky was a First Team All-American and the Big Ten outdoor runner-up in the shot put as a redshirt junior last season, setting a lifetime PR of 20.16 meters (66-1.75) at the conference championships.

Champ Page – Page is a five-time All-American for the Scarlet and Gray and a key member of the Buckeye 4x400-meter relay team. Last season, Page helped the 4x4 to a fourth-place finish at the NCAA outdoor championships. During the indoor season, he was a Second Team All-American with the 4x4 and an Honorable Mention All-American as an individual in the 400-meter dash after collecting a bronze medal in the event at the Big Ten championships.

Zack Bazile – Bazile made quite an entrance to the Big Ten as a freshman, earning B1G Freshman of the Year honors during the indoor season after winning the conference title in the long jump with a personal-best mark of 7.67 meters (25-2.00) Outdoors, he was an Honorable Mention All-American in the long jump and a bronze medalist at the conference championships.

SoSo Walker – Walker won a pair of gold medals with the 4x400-meter relay team in 2015, setting school outdoor (3:28.37) and indoor (3:35.81) records in the process. Individually, Walker was a star in the 400-meter dash, earning Second Team All-America accolades outdoor, along with Big Ten silver and bronze medals during the outdoor and indoor seasons, respectively.

Aaliyah Barnes – Barnes is one of the most versatile sprinters for the Scarlet and Gray, finding success in a wide array of events. Like Walker, Barnes was a member of the Buckeyes’ 4x400-meter team that won gold medals at both the Big Ten indoor and outdoor championships while setting school outdoor (3:28.37) and indoor (3:35.81) records during the season. Individually, Barnes is a two-time B1G bronze medalist in the 200-meter dash and a Top-5 conference performer in the 400.

Alexis Franklin – Franklin is a two-time All-American. Last season, she earned silver and bronze medals in the 400-meter and 100-meter hurdles, respectively, at the Big Ten outdoor championships, while also finishing fifth in the 60-meter hurdles at the indoor conference meet.

Alyssa Gary – Gary cleared a personal-best 15.38 meters (50-5.50) last season in the shot put, finishing fifth at the Big Ten indoor championships and ninth at the outdoor championships. She also represented Ohio State at the NCAA East Preliminary.

Key Newcomers
Nick Gray – Two-time OHSAA Division I state champion in the 400-meter dash; state runner-up in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes in 2015 … 2014 OATCCC Division I state champion in the 400-meter dash and runner-up in the 200-meter dash … fifth place in the 200 meters at the 2014 New Balance Indoor Nationals … fourth place in the 400 at Junior Olympics in 2012.

DaJuan Seward – Eight-time Virginia Group 1A/2A state outdoor champion, winning the 110- and 300-meter hurdles, along with the long jump and triple jump in both 2015 and 2014; runner-up in the high jump in 2015 and 2014 … eight-time Virginia state indoor champion (55-meter hurdles in 2015, 2014 and 2013; long jump and triple jump in 2015 and 2014; high jump in 2015) … fourth place in the triple jump at the 2014 New Balance Outdoor Nationals … sixth place in both the long jump and triple jump at the 2015 New Balance Outdoor Nationals.

Karrington Winters – Three-time OHSAA Division I state champion in the 400-meter dash … two-time OATCCC Division I state indoor champion in the 400-meter dash … owned the top 400-meter time in the state all four years of high school … third place in the 400 at the 2013 New Balance Outdoor Nationals; sixth in 2015.

Bliss Soleyn – Fourth place in the 100-meter dash at the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China … fourth place in the 100-meter dash and fifth in the 200 at the 2015 CARIFTA Games.

Sade Olatoye – Three-time OHSAA Division I state outdoor champion (shot put, 2014-15 and discus, 2014) … 2015 state runner-up in the discus … runner-up in the shot put at the 2013 OHSAA Championships and third as a freshman in 2012 … fourth place in the discus and 14th in the shot put at the 2015 New Balance Outdoor Nationals … ranked No. 7 in U.S. in the girl's discus and No. 8 in the shot put as a senior in 2015.

Buckeyes in the USTFCCCA Preseason Rankings
The Buckeye men are ranked 36th in the USTFCCCA Division I Indoor Track & Field Preseason Poll, released Wednesday.

OSU totaled 22.14 points in the season-opening poll. Nine Big Ten teams are featured in the Top 50: No. 11 Nebraska, No. 21 Penn State, No. 24 Purdue, No. 30 Illinois, No. 32 Wisconsin, No. 33 Minnesota, the Buckeyes, No. 39 Rutgers and No. 45 Michigan. Florida is the preseason No. 1-ranked team, followed by No. 2 Texas and third-ranked Oregon.

Seven Buckeyes, along with the 4x400-meter relay team, are ranked among the Top 25 in their respective events. Robertson (No. 6, 60-meter hurdles) is the highest ranked individual.

The OSU women open the season ranked 57th overall. Six Big Ten rivals are represented in the Top 25: No. 9 Wisconsin, No. 14 Michigan, No. 19 Michigan State, No. 29 Penn State, No. 43 Minnesota and No. 48 Purdue. Arkansas is the top-ranked women’s team in the preseason poll, followed by No. 2 Georgia and No. 3 Texas.

Meet the Staff
Dennis is assisted by:

• Associate head coach Brice Allen (distance), entering his fourth season in Columbus;
• Associate head coach Rosalind Joseph (jumps/multi-events), entering her eighth season at Ohio State;
• Third-year assistant Sara Vergote (distance);
• Second-year assistant Joel Brown (sprints/hurdles);
• Second-year assistant Ashley Muffet Duncan (throws)
• Volunteer assistants Rob Banhagel (pole vault/decathlon), Brian Brillon (horizontal jumps), Matt DeChant (throws), Richard Ebin (pole vault), Tommy Hampton (mid-distance), Richard Jones (sprints) and Pam Showman (multi-events);
• and Director of Operations Fred Barends

Up Next
Ohio State travels to Lexington, Ky., for the Kentucky Invitational Jan. 15-16.