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Ohio State cleans up at Jesse Owens Track Classic

Daniel Zaas / Lantern photographer

The Ohio State men’s and women’s track & field teams fortuitously avoided rain and put on performances Saturday and Sunday that would have made Jesse Owens proud.

Under mostly cloudy skies, and just days after the Jesse Owens Memorial Statue was dedicated outside Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium commemorating Owen’s performance in the 1936 Olympics, the OSU men’s team earned seven total victories, while the women’s team collected three.

In men’s competition, junior Cory Leslie started strong for OSU and took first in the 3,000-meter Steeplechase event on Saturday with a time of 8:51.06. Freshman Will Lauricella took first in the javelin throw, throwing 62.22 meters.

On Sunday, Leslie took first place again, this time winning the one-mile race with a time of 4:02.57, just more than three seconds shy of the stadium record.

Junior All-American Michael Hartfield claimed first in the long jump with a mark of 7.87 meters, which ranks in the top 10 nationally. Hartfield fouled on his final jump, but said he believes his best is yet to come.

“I have the potential to keep jumping further,” Hartfield said. “We don’t start unloading for another couple weeks so I’ll start running faster and jumping even further in weeks to come.”

Cloud cover gave way to sunshine just before the 4×400-meter relay, the final event of the meet. The OSU men’s relay team of Marvel Brooks, Aaron Roberts, Korbin Smith and anchor Thomas Murdaugh lagged just behind an unattached Venezuelan National Team when Murdaugh took the baton and blazed ahead of the field on the final 100-meter stretch, winning the event with a time of 3:07.13, which leads the Big Ten this season.

“Anytime you can run against a national team and beat them, it’s a great feeling,” Smith said. “If we give Thomas the baton … we’re going to win that race probably nine times out of 10. He’s a great anchor and always comes up with a great kick like he did here.”

On the women’s side of the event, junior Kelcey McKinney seized first place in the triple-jump event with a jump of 12.41 meters.

Junior Christina Manning also contributed to two of the three victories.

In the 4×100 relay, the OSU team of Manning, Letecia Wright, Madison McNary and Chesna Sykes faced very little pressure and finished first with a time of 44.52 seconds, with Purdue’s relay team finishing 1.97 seconds behind the Buckeyes.

Manning later took first in the 100-meter dash, finishing with a time of 11.58 seconds.

Sophomore Aaron Roberts said he felt satisfied with both teams’ performance.

“Overall, we had great weather and, with that, we had some really great performances,” Roberts said. “It was a great day and we’re focused for Big Tens now.”

The men’s and women’s track teams will travel to Des Moines, Iowa, to compete in the Drake Relays on Thursday and Friday.

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