May 9, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No.24 Ohio State women's track and field team is traveling to Madison this weekend for the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Ohio State won the Big Ten outdoor championships last season for the first time in program history in 2011 and are looking to again bring the title to Columbus. The McClimon Complex at the University of Wisconsin will play host to the eleven Big Ten teams competing for this year's Big Ten outdoor title.
"Our team is feeling pretty good headed into the weekend. We're fit, we're healthy and we're about as strong as we can be right now," said head coach Karen Dennis. "I'm feeling really good about our team. I'm always really nervous and I'm always feeling better after the meet is over, but at the same time I'm feeling really good about where we are at and I'm looking forward to going and defending our outdoor championship."
Days: Friday, May 11 (1:15 p.m. - 10:15 p.m. ET); Saturday, May 12 (11:15 a.m. - 7:45 p.m. ET); Sunday, May 13 (11:55 a.m. - 4:33 p.m. ET)
Venue: McClimon Complex - Madison, Wisc.
Live Results: www.uwathletics.com/live/track/
Television: The Big Ten Network will televise the Big Ten championships on a tape-delayed basis on May 20 at Noon ET.
Recaps will be available each day at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com
Buckeyes to Watch
Christina Manning - The All-American currently holds the top American time in the 100m hurdles this year after turning in a school record with a time of 12.68 back in March at the Jim Click Shootout. Manning also holds the nation's fastest wind-aided time this season after running a 12.57 in Gainesville last month. Last season, the senior won gold in the 100m hurdles, 100m dash and 4x100m relay and will be in the running to defend all of those titles with the second-fastest 100m dash time in the conference and the fastest hurdle and relay times in the Big Ten. The Waldorf, Md., native also enters the conference meet with three Athlete of the Championship and Athlete and Athlete of the Year honors to her name.
Chesna Sykes - In her second year as a Buckeye, Sykes is making a strong impact on the track for the team. Sykes enters the meet looking to be victorious in the 100m dash. The Columbus native currently holds the fastest 100m dash time in the Big Ten. Sykes ran that time of 11.42 in the first outdoor meet of the season. In the 200m dash Sykes is tied with teammate Aisha Cavin for the No. 3 time (23.85) in the Big Ten. Sykes will also play a role in helping the top Big Ten ranked 4x100m relay team defend their title.
Maggie Mullen - At the All-Ohio Championships, Mullen set a PR throw in the hammer throw. The senior now has the second-best hammer mark in the Big Ten, the 12th-best mark in the country and the fourth-best throw in Ohio State history. Mullen will be looking to end her senior season with strong showings in the hammer and javelin at the Big Ten championships as she was the javelin champion in 2010 and the bronze medalist in the hammer in 2011.
Scouting the Big Ten
Ohio State is the only Top 25 ranked Big Ten team but Nebraska and Illinois are not too far out. The Cornhuskers enter their first Big Ten outdoor championships ranked No. 26 and as the indoor champions. Illinois checks in at No. 31 as of May 8 according to the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Host Wisconsin is ranked No. 41 while Michigan sits at No. 46 to round out the Big Ten presence in the Top 50.
Eight of the competing schools are ranked within the top 10 teams in their respective regions. The Buckeyes are currently second in the Great Lakes region. Other regionally ranked Big Ten teams in the Great Lakes region include No. 3 Wisconsin, No. 4 Michigan State, No. 5 Michigan, No. 6 Indiana and No. 12 Purdue. Penn State is first in the Mid-Atlantic region. Nebraska is ranked second in the Midwest region. Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa are also in the Midwest region where they are ranked No. 3, No. 8 and No. 11, respectively.
Buckeye History at the Championships
Ohio State captured the team's first women's outdoor track and field conference title last season after years of individual success at the championships. The Scarlet and Gray scored 135 total points with 100 points coming in on the last day of the meet to bring the title to Columbus.
The Buckeyes took home back-to-back Athlete of the Championship titles in 1999 and 2000. All-American Dominique 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. Christina Manning then earned the honor of Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championships in 2011 after claiming Big Ten titles in the 100m dash, 100m hurdles and as the anchor of the 4x100m relay.
Coach Mamie Rallins guided the Buckeyes to a second-place finish at the 1979 championships, Ohio State's best finish in school history until 2011 when head coach Karen Dennis guided the team to their first outdoor Big Ten championship. The Scarlet and Gray have finished in the Top 5 in 20 of the 31 women's outdoor finals.
Recapping the 2011 Outdoor Championships
The Buckeyes pulled off a season sweep of the conference championships after racking up 135 points in Iowa for the win. Ohio State finished 13 points ahead of runner-up and defending outdoor champion Penn State. Indiana finished in third place with 96 points.
Big Ten Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championships Manning helped catapult the team with victories in the 100m dash (11.29), 100m hurdles (12.86) and as the anchor of the 4x100m relay team.
All-American Madison McNary joined Manning as a member of the Big Ten champion 4x100m relay team. In addition, McNary won an individual title in the 200m (23.22), bringing her career total to three after only one season with the Buckeyes. Letecia Wright and Chesna Sykes were the other two members of the champion 4x100m relay team that turned in a time of 43.94.
Junior Shaniqua McGinnis, plagued by injuries for much of the 2011 season, returned to form with the second conference title of her career in the 400m dash. McGinnis (53.636) edged Ashley Kelly of Illinois (53.638) by .002 seconds at the finish line for the win and the third overall Big Ten title of her Buckeye career.
Rounding out the Buckeye individual title winners was junior Kelcey McKinney, who captured the first Big Ten title of her career with a PR of 12.80m (42 ft.) in the triple jump, the fifth-best mark in school history.
Buckeyes in the Individual Top 30 Rankings
Nine members of the Scarlet and Gray are ranked within the Top 25 nationally in several event areas. A look at where the Buckeyes sit:
- Christina Manning - No. 1 in the 100m hurdles, No. 12 in the 4x100m relay, No. 24 in the 100m dash
- Chesna Sykes - No. 12 in the 4x100m relay, No. 20 in the 100m dash
- Madison McNary - No. 12 in the 4x100m relay
- Christienne Linton - No. 12 in the 4x100m relay
- Maggie Mullen - No. 12 in the hammer throw
- Shaniqua McGinnis - No. 17 in the 400m dash, No. 24 in the 4x400m relay
- Nyjah Cousar - No. 24 in the 4x400m relay
- Jackie Dim - No. 24 in the 4x400m relay
- Alexandria Johnson - No. 24 in the 4x400m relay
Follow the Buckeyes on Facebook and Twitter!
The women's track and field and cross country programs are on Facebook and Twitter. Visit www.facebook.com/OSUwtrackXC to get the latest news and notes on the Buckeyes. Be sure to also follow the team on Twitter @OhioState_WTRK.
Last Time Out
Ohio State competed in the 118th Penn Relays in Philadelphia April 26-28.
Competing for the Buckeyes in the championship division of the triple jump was McKinney. The senior used a leap of 12.32m (40-5) to claim the silver medal.
The Scarlet and Gray saw action in the elite Championship of America division with the 4x100m relay, 4x400m relay, sprint medley and 4x800m relay. Linton, Manning, Cavin and Sykes placed fourth in the 4x100m relay. They crossed the line in 44.70. Linton, Johnson, Dim and McGinnis turned in a time of 3:53.90, the second-best time in Ohio State history, to place fifth in the sprint medley. The 4x800m relay team of Katie Betts, Jordan Jennewine, Katie Borchers and Tori Brink turned in a time of 8:58.85 for ninth. In the 4x4, Cousar, Dim, Cavin and McGinnis worked together to earn a fourth-place finish with a time of 3:36.53.
Ohio State will travel to Jacksonville, Fla., May 24-26 for the 2012 NCAA East Regional Preliminaries.
Buckeye Spotlight - Alyssa Gary