Courtesy of OSU Athletic Department
Ohio State’s men’s and women’s track and field teams will have the chance to find their conference footing in the Big Ten Indoor Championships Friday and Saturday in Geneva, Ohio.
For some members of the teams, it’s also an opportunity to test their worth in a conference with two ranked women’s teams and five ranked men’s teams.
The top eight athletes in each track and field event are given points toward their team totals.
“If you’re not in the top eight, you’re worth almost nothing in the Big Ten,” said redshirt senior mile runner Chris Fallon. “(That) basically is what it comes down to.”
The chance to compete on such a stage might be a long time coming. While each meet holds its own significance, the Big Ten Championships hold a particular importance.
“The whole season is basically (working up to) it,” Fallon said. “If you’re sitting in the top 10 going into a conference meet, you’re kind of expected to do something pretty special. So the whole year, you’re kind of gearing up to get a mark or throw a distance that is in the top 10.”
In theory, track and field athletes get a total of eight championships in their collegiate career: one indoor and one outdoor a year for four years.
“Once you’ve gotten to your eight, that’s it and you don’t get to redo them,” said men’s coach Ed Beathea. “We put a large emphasis on the importance of the conference championship for that reason.”
In the championships, officials score the top eight individuals with 10 points for first place, eight for second, six for third, continuing in descending order through eighth place.
OSU men’s track and field has not won the Big Ten conference championship since 1993. Beathea said success this weekend could be imperative to the men’s team’s belief in itself.
“When you get more guys placing top three, I think you can be a little more confident,” Beathea said. “We still have work to do so we need to keep our head down and keep chugging away.”
Conversely, OSU women’s track and field won the Big Ten in 2011. Sophomore long and triple jumper Abie Ehimwenman said that hasn’t made the Buckeyes complacent, though.
“You’re never satisfied,” Ehimwenman said. “You’re always going to want more, especially if you know you’re good and you always want to be great, so why not reach for the top?”
The Big Ten championships start Friday at 10 a.m.