The Ohio State women’s track and field team are the defending champions of the Big Ten Indoor Championship, and they remain undefeated this season. They came short of winning in The Dual on Saturday, but finished the head-to-head competition tied with their opponent, Michigan.
Fifteen events were contested in The Dual, a head-to-head meet contested annually between the Ohio State and Michigan track and field teams, one of many sports rivalries between the two schools. On Saturday, the women’s teams competed at OSU’s French Field House, and after fifteen events, they finished in a tie, with each team earning 81 points in the meet.
The leader of the Buckeye women in their charge toward a second consecutive Big Ten title is senior sprinter Christina Manning, who won all three events she competed in at The Dual. Manning ran to victory in the 60-meter hurdles in 8.12 seconds, the 60-meter dash in 7.36 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 24.24 seconds.
She was named Big Ten co-Track Athlete of the Week for her performance.
Manning is coming off of a junior season in which she was named Big Ten Athlete of the Year for the indoor season in women’s track and field. She said she believes she is even stronger this year and is “running with a different mindset.”
OSU athletic director Gene Smith was at Saturday’s meet, and he had no shortage of praise for Manning. Citing her four years of success, Smith said Manning has “always impressed” him and that he is “proud of her”.
Manning is not the only standout among OSU sprinters. Junior Christienne Linton finished second in both the 60-meter hurdles (8.43 seconds) and 60-meter dash (7.46). Senior Shaniqua McGinnis also had success, with an individual victory in the 400-meter dash (55.63 seconds), along with anchoring OSU winning 1600-meter relay team.
In contrast to the successful performances in the sprinting events, the Buckeyes struggled in their distance events. In the 800-meter run, mile run and 3,000-meter run, Michigan placed two runners ahead of OSU’s best runners in each race.
Ohio State women’s track and field coach Karen Dennis described Michigan as “one of the best teams in the country in (middle-distance and distance areas).”
Dennis said “there are some areas that we have to improve on to make a run at the Big Ten championship,” and many of those areas are in the field events, in which Buckeyes’ individuals won two of the six events contested. Dennis said he was impressed with the winning performances of senior Maggie Mullen in the weight throw (67 feet, 5 1/4 inches) and senior Ashley Galbraith in the high jump (5 feet, 9 1/4 inches).
The Buckeyes had second-place finishers in each of the other four field events.
When the match ended in a tie, the two squads shook hands.
Later in the day, the OSU men’s track and field team competed in their half of The Dual in Ann Arbor, Mi., and were victorious by a score of 91.5 to 70.5 points. OSU teammembers won 10 of the 15 events contested.
Redshirt junior Cory Leslie won both the 800-meter dash (1:50.76) and mile run (4:08.52). Additionally, the Buckeyes had four winners in the field: redshirt junior Heath Nickels in pole vault (17 feet, 1 ½ inches), senior Michael McCarty in the long jump (24 feet, 3 ¾ inches), senior Matt DeChant in the shotput (59 feet, 2 ¾ inches), and senior Max Mays in the weight throw (68 feet, 2 ½ inches).
Mays was named Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week for his performance.