No. 10 Ohio State Set to Defend Conference Title in Nebraska
Feb. 22, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 10 Ohio State women's track and field team travels to Lincoln, Neb., this weekend for the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Championships where they will defend their first ever conference title from last season. The Buckeyes have finished in the top two spots for the last two years and this year they are expected to be quite the competition yet again.
"Going into this year's Big Ten indoor championship is very different than what we experienced last year as a team," said head coach Karen Dennis. "Having won the event last year we realize we are no longer a team chasing the champions we are now the team being chased! It's a good position to be in and we realize the tremendous pressure we're under."
"Our coaches, staff and athletes have worked hard all year to enable us to defend our championship position," said Dennis. "The group of women competing in this year's championship represents our second generation of recruits. They have been here before. They know what it takes to win and they are all excited about this meet. We have our work cut out for us and in order to repeat and we need to find performances that exceed what we've done all year. I believe we're ready."
Shaniqua McGinnis - The Senior leads the team in the 400m dash and 600m run with times of 54.38 and 1:30.97, respectively. Her 400m dash time is fourth in the Big Ten this season. The Shaker Heights, Ohio native holds the French Field House record and the second-best time in Ohio State history in the 600m run. McGinnis took fourth last season in the 400m dash and is expected to move up in the ranks this year and prove to be a contender in the 600m run.
Kelcey McKinney - The Dayton, Ohio native set a PR of 12.82m (42-0.75) in the triple jump at the Meyo Invitational. Her mark is No. 5 in school history, No. 10 in the nation and No. 2 in the Big Ten behind Michigan State's Tori Franklin. The senior's top long jump performance of 5.94m (19-6) also came at the Meyo Invitational. At last season's Big Ten championships, McKinney claimed the runner-up spot in the triple jump and finished third in the long jump and will be looking to improve on both of those finishes this weekend in Lincoln.
Maggie Mullen - At the Don Kirby Elite Invitational, Mullen had her two best throwing performances of the season. The Ontario, Canada native recorded a mark of 14.26m (46-9.5) in the shot put and a PR of 20.78m (68-2.25) in the weight throw. Last season, the senior placed third in the weight throw at the conference championships and she enters her final Big Ten indoor championships ranked second in the conference behind Taylor Smith from Wisconsin.
Nebraska won the 2011 Big 12 Championship last season as they ended their time in that conference before shifting to the Big Ten. That marked the sixth Big 12 crown for the Cornhuskers who will be hosting their first ever Big Ten championship in their first season as a member of the conference.
Eleven Buckeyes in Individual Top 25 Rankings
60m Hurdles - For the last two years, Buckeyes have taken the top two spots in the race. Manning enters with a time of 7.99 to lead the conference and Linton's 8.30 is third in the Big Ten. Evonne Britton (8.20) from Penn State and Illinois' Breanna Coleman (8.32) and Jesica Ejesieme (8.32) will be the top challengers as Manning defends her title and Linton looks to the top spots.
200m Dash - The Scarlet and Gray have a chance to score well in this event. Manning (23.51) holds the Big Ten's top time and teammates Aisha Cavin (23.82) and Sykes (23.94) both have top 6 conference times. Last season Oho State 17 points in the 200m dash after taking second, third and sixth. Manning, Cavin and Sykes will find their biggest competition from Penn State's Mahagony Jones and Kirsten Nieuwendam and Illinois' Ashley Spencer.
High Jump - Ashley Galbraith will battle against Monika Jakutyte from Wisconsin and Rebecca Buchholtz from Michigan State for the crown. This will be Galbraith's last indoor Big Ten championship meet and she is hoping to improve on last season's fifth-place finish.
Weight Throw - Mullen and Thomas finished third and fifth, respectively, last season at the championships. They head to Lincoln with two of the top five marks in the Big Ten and are prepared to face the competition by giving their best performances to bring home points for the Buckeyes.
Last Season's Big Ten Championship
Manning captured the conference title in the 60m hurdles and runner-up finishes in the 60m dash and 200m dashes, recording then personal best times in both the hurdles (8.01) and 60m dash (7.29) in the process. After a stellar season and outstanding showing at the Big Ten championships, Manning was named Big Ten Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championships. She became only the second Buckeye to win Athlete of the Year honors and the third Buckeye to pick up Athlete of the Championship recognition.
Also picking up a conference title was McNary who took first with a new school record of 7.27 in the 60m dash. McNary and Manning pulled the upset on Penn State's Shavon Greaves who was a 12-time Big Ten champion and All-American.
Letecia Wright ran a time of 8.03 in the 60m dash to finish directly behind Manning for second. In the pentathlon Alana Gray placed second after stellar performances. Gray recorded 3,711 points. The top distance performance was turned in by Tori Brink who ran a 2:11.84 for sixth in the 800m run.
With a then PR jump of 12.58m (41-3.25), McKinney racked up eight points with a second place finish in the triple jump. Mullen also won silver when she threw for 20.27m (66-6) in the weight throw.
Head coach Karen Dennis' peers elected her Big Ten Coach of the Year after taking the team all the way to the top of the conference in just her fifth season. Under her guidance at the 2011 Big Ten Championships, Ohio State captured a total of two individual titles, five silver medals and 16 top 5 finishes.
Buckeye History at the Big Ten Championships
Three Buckeyes have taken home the Athlete of the Championship Award. Donica Merriman - one of only two OSU athletes to claim national titles - grabbed the honor in both 2000 and 2001 after winning the 60m hurdles and 200m dash each season. Bridgette Tate received the honor in 1988 after her first-place finishes in the 55m dash, 55m hurdles and 300 yard run. Manning most recently won the honor after dominating the 2011 meet with a win in the 60m hurdles and two runner-up finishes in the 60m dash and 200m dash.
Two Ohio State indoor championship records have been retired, Diane Dixon's 300-yard run in 1983 and Tate's 60-yard sprint in 1987. Merriman still holds the championship record of 7.98 in the 60m hurdles from 2001.
Last Time Out
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