The Ohio State men’s and women’s track and field teams are set to pay tribute to legendary runner Jesse Owens as the team debuts at its only home outdoor meet of the season.
This weekend, the Buckeyes are slated to host more than 24 collegiate teams along with several unattached runners Friday and Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium for the 29th annual Jesse Owens Track Classic.
Owens, known as the Buckeye Bullet during his time at OSU, is most recognized for his ability in the sprints and long jumping events. He set three world records at the 1935 Big Ten track meet and holds four gold Olympic medals: one each in the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, long jump, and 4×100 meter relay.
In the past, Olympians such as John Drummond, Allen Johnson, Edwin Moses and Buckeye Olympians Diane Dixon and Joe Greene all competed in the Jesse Owens Track Classic according to an OSU press release.
The Buckeyes are excited to return home after five weeks on the road, men’s coach Ed Beathea said. He said he believes the Buckeyes have gotten off to a steady start into the outdoor season, but are looking forward to competing hard this weekend as they transition into the next phase of the season.
“I think that we are on track for where we would like to end the season,” Beathea said.
Beathea is confident the team is on pace to face high competition.
“Performances have been a bit of a mixed bag,” Beathea said. “Some guys have thrived and done well and some guys have done relatively average. But when I look at our results from last year, we are where we should be on how we train.”
Senior sprinter and hurdler Justin Hines agreed with Beathea, saying the pace the Buckeyes have taken in their training during the outdoor season.
“We usually start off a little slower, then pick it up a little,” Hines said. “Coach usually peaks us right before conference. We are at a good spot based on the marks we have right now and I think that if we keep moving forward, we will be very competitive in the conference meet.”
Moving forward is one thing Beathea hopes to see his team do this weekend.
“We are taking each week for what it is, but we understand that for our training, we need to get our legs back and turn over a little bit faster,” Beathea said. “I would like to see them fight a little more and compete with a stronger sense of urgency.”
He said many athletes are still adjusting from the indoor to outdoor season. But with a few meets under their belts in the outdoor season, he hopes they will be “more spirited.”
One athlete who intends to improve and compete harder is senior sprinter and hurdler Demoye Bogle.
Bogle said he has had a “rough” couple of meets to start the outdoor season, but is being patient with his training. He hopes this weekend at home will help him get his confidence back.
“We want to do our best and show that we can’t be beat at our own track,” Bogle said.
Bogle said he and his teammates are continuing to practice hard each day and keep healthy in order to be successful this weekend.
The home track advantage comes with bittersweet returns for Hines because this is his last race at home as a Buckeye. He said he is excited, however, to have his family and friends make it down to the meet.
“The guys tend to enjoy being at home because they get more support,” Beathea said. “Mechanically (they) look the same, but there is a feeling of comfort of being at home.”
The meet starts Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Correction April 17: An earlier version of this story noted the athlete in the photo on the left to be Jackson Neff. In fact, it is Dominik Seitzer. The caption now reflects the correct individuals in the photo.