Courtesy of the OSU Athletc Department
The Ohio State women’s track and field team won their conference championship for the second year in a row on Sunday, successfully defending their title at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships.
The championships were held in Madison, Wis., on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. OSU was victorious on the women’s side, scoring 117 points. On the men’s side, the Wisconsin Badgers were winners on their home track, with OSU finishing 35 points back in fourth place.
The OSU women stood in sixth place following two days of competition, but they made a Sunday surge to come back to win the meet with a seven-point advantage. Nebraska and Illinois tied for second place with 110 points each.
Coach Karen Dennis told The Lantern the slow start in scoring points did not concern her because of how many OSU women qualified for the finals in their events on Saturday.
“We’ve been there before,” Dennis said. “We qualified 14 people, and that’s what made the difference.”
Dennis said she felt the experienced team members led the way with their performances.
“The keys were the seniors,” Dennis said. “They brought us here, they stepped up and deserved to take the trophy home.”
OSU’s contingent of 100-meter dash runners played a major role in the victory. The Buckeyes took four of the top five places in that event, with senior Christina Manning winning in 11.49 seconds. Senior Madison McNary finished second (11.71), junior Christienne Linton (11.72) was third and sophomore Chesna Sykes came in fifth (11.80). Manning, McNary, Linton and Sykes also teamed up to win the 4×100-meter relay, setting a school and meet record with a time of 43.70.
Manning also won the 100-meter hurdles (12.71) and finished second in the 200-meter dash (23.30 seconds).
Junior Alexis Thomas was also an individual winner in the hammer throw. She set Big Ten meet and OSU school records in the event with a winning throw of 64.62 meters.
Thomas told The Lantern she felt fortunate that her performance helped lead her team to a championship.
“It’s amazing (to win the Big Ten championship),” Thomas said. “It’s a great feeling.”
OSU men’s track and field was unable to match the success of its female counterparts.
They finished the meet with 86 points. Wisconsin led the way with 121 points, while Nebraska (115.5 points) edged Indiana (115) for second place.
Men’s interim coach Ed Beathea did not respond to The Lantern’s request for comment.
The Buckeye men only had one individual event winner. That was senior Michael Hartfield, who won the individual Big Ten title in the long jump for the second consecutive year with a jump of 7.96 meters.
Hartfield said in a press release that winning his event was “a blessing”.
“It feels good especially after getting your behind kicked all year,” Hartfield said. “To come back at Big Tens and really make a statement, you know it feels good.”
Redshirt junior distance runner Cory Leslie was a double runner-up. He finished second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase; he surpassed the previous meet record with a time of 8:32.48 but finished second to Michigan’s Craig Forys. He also finished second in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 3:42.03.
The OSU track and field teams will compete next at the NCAA East Prelims, which will be held in Jacksonville, Fla., on May 24-26.