Track and field teams prep for outdoor home opener
Published: Friday, April 7, 2006
Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012 01:06
Teams from across Ohio will meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium today and Saturday as the Ohio State men's and women's track and field teams host the 2006 All-Ohio Track and Field Championships, marking the outdoor season home opener for OSU.
Last season the women finished the meet in second place while the men took home a fourth-place finish. OSU is prepared to come out strong this year and capture both titles.
"We haven't put a lot of interest in trying to win the meet in the past because we have a lot of schools in Ohio," coach Russ Rogers said. "So we try and give them the chance to perform, but this year we're going all out. We're going to win the meet."
OSU is off to a successful start this outdoor season and hopes to build off of last year's success. Senior two-time All-American distance runner Brian Olinger continues to make a name for himself in the OSU record books as he set a new OSU record in the 10,000-meter run with a time of 28:57.68 at the 2006 Nike Stanford Invitational at Cobb Angel Field in Palo Alto, Calif. on March 31. The previous record of 29:01.29 was set by Chris England in 1997.
"It was almost like an accident. I was actually going out there to help pace a couple of guys on the team," Olinger said. "I kind of found myself in the lead early on in the race and coach gave me the go ahead to finish it out and see if I could get the school record."
Olinger, along with senior Kevin Bruffy, will lead a talented group of distance runners this season. Rogers also looks to senior sprinter Todd Dutch and sophomore sprinter Tony Cole, the 2005 Big Ten Men's Indoor Freshman of the Year, to lead the sprinters this year. Cole currently ranks second in the Big Ten in the 100 with a time of 10.63 and fifth in the 200.
"We look at ourselves as the premier track program in Ohio, so we definitely want to go out and win and put up as many points as possible," Olinger said.
Sophomore thrower Lenny Jatsek, recently named the Big Ten Track and Field Male Co-Athlete of the Week, will lead the throwers this outdoor season. On March 28, Jatsek won the men's shot put at the Walt Disney World Invitational, posting a NCAA regional-qualifying mark and a personal-best distance of 57-feet-9.
"We have a pretty well balanced team with the men," Rogers said. "We've got somebody good in every area."
On the women's side, the strength lies in the speed of the sprints, hurdles and middle distance. Junior sprinter and Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Short Track Champion Jenna Harris will look to lead a talented young women's team.
"I do consider myself to be one of the leaders of the team. There are not that many upperclassmen," Harris said. "We're a relatively young team and there are a lot more freshman than there are juniors and seniors."
Harris leads the Big Ten this season in the 100 and 200. Freshman standout sprinter Ayrizonna Favours holds the fastest time in the 400 with a mark of 54.80.
All-American junior jumper and current Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor High Jump Champion Jessica Stringer will be called upon to lead the field events this season as she looks to improve on last year's second-place finish this.
"We've got some really good individuals," Rogers said. "If we stick together as a team we could be in the top three in the Big Ten, and then if something goes wrong we can move up."