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Ohio State yet to qualify track and field athletes for London Olympics

Lantern file photo

At the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for track and field, eight current and former Ohio State Buckeyes have attempted or will attempt to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team. No track and field athletes with OSU ties have successfully swapped their scarlet and gray uniforms for the red, white, and blue of Team USA, but several will have the chance to do so in the coming days.

The trials began June 21-25 in Eugene, Ore., and continue from June 28-July 1. Through the first five days of competition, no athletes with OSU ties have qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games, which begin in London on July 27.

Of the four Buckeyes who have completed their participation in the trials, recent OSU graduates Christina Manning and Mike Hartfield had the best success. Both athletes qualified in their respective event’s finals, but finished outside of the top three spots, leaving them off of the Olympic team.

Manning, the 2012 NCAA champion in 100-meter hurdles, finished 5th in that event at trials. Her time of 12.92 seconds was .06 seconds behind the 3rd-place time of 12.86 seconds by Lolo Jones.

Hartfield, who won the 2012 Big Ten championship in long jump, finished 6th at trials with a best jump of 7.79 meters. Hartfield’s performance was a statistical improvement over his result at NCAA championships, where he finished in a tie for 10th with a best jump of 7.61 meters.

Two OSU throwers also competed at the U.S. trials, but neither qualified for the finals in their event. Matt DeChant, who also finished his OSU track career as a 2012 senior, finished 18th in shot put with a top throw of 18.13 meters. On the women’s side, senior Alexis Thomas, who won the 2012 Big Ten championship in hammer throw as a junior, finished 22nd in that event at the trials with a throw of 56.70 meters.

Hope is still alive, however, for the Buckeyes to be represented in track and field at the 2012 Olympics.

On Tuesday, former Buckeye athlete Brian Olinger and redshirt senior Cory Leslie both qualified for the 3,000-meter steeplechase final, which will be held Thursday. Olinger ran the 5th-fastest time in preliminaries (8:30.08), while Leslie was 9th and exactly one second slower (8:31.08).

Leslie will also be competing in the 1,500-meter run along with another former Buckeye, Jeff See, who also currently serves as a volunteer assistant coach to the men’s track and field program. Preliminaries for the 1,500 will be held Thursday, and the final will take place Friday.

Antonio Blanks, who was a 2012 first-team All-American in his freshman season for OSU, will compete in the 400-meter hurdles, which begins with preliminaries on Thursday.

In addition to the eight OSU athletes who have competed or will compete at the U.S. trials, former OSU thrower Maggie Mullen is attempting to qualify for her native country at the 2012 Canadian Olympic Track and Field Trials.

Mullen, who concluded her senior season at OSU with a 22nd-place finish in hammer throw at the 2012 NCAA Championships, will participate in the hammer throw competition at her nation’s trials in Calgary, Alberta. The hammer throw competition begins Friday.


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