Under sunny skies, the Ohio State men’s and women’s track and field teams stood tall at the Jesse Owens Track Classic.
Leading the way for the Buckeyes at the two-day meet was the women’s 4×100-meter relay team of sprinters sophomore Aliyah Everson, redshirt-junior Chesna Sykes, senior Alycia Prior and redshirt-senior Ashlee Abraham, who scampered to a time of 44.56 seconds. The result is a season-best time for the squad and the best in the Big Ten this year.
Several individual events also scored high, as junior distance runner Nicole Hilton won the 3000-meter steeplechase under the lights Friday with a time of 10:37.78. Saturday afternoon, senior sprinter and jumper Adenike Pedro claimed the long jump title with a personal-best jump of 6.13 meters. Senior jumper Bianca Walton jumped 12.31 meters in the triple jump, earning her second place. In the 100-meter dash, Abraham ran 11.65 seconds putting her in the runner-up position. Finally, junior mid-distance runner Katie Borchers finished third in the 800-meter with a time of 2:11.56
Women’s associate head coach Rosalind Joseph was excited by the outcome of the meet and how each of the players built on the foundations they had coming in to the meet.
“Everybody was aggressive,” Joseph said. “Everyone came out to get something done. We asked them all to take something away from this meet that we can fine tune.”
Pedro agreed with Joseph that the meet helped identify what needs to get done in the next few weeks in practice as the team prepares for the conference meet, scheduled for May 16-18 in West Lafayette, Ind.
“There’s always something to improve on,” Pedro said. “From now on, every day in practice I know I have to work hard because there is somebody else out there who is working just as hard as me.”
This meet proved to be an emotional one for Pedro — it was the last time she will compete in Columbus wearing the Scarlet and Gray.
“(This is the) last home meet, I knew I had to go out there and give it my best,” Pedro said. “I’m just glad we all came out as a team and fought hard and fought together.”
Joseph said the women’s team immediately turned the focus back to practice and where each athlete can improve for next week.
“We aren’t trying to change a bunch of things or add a bunch of things,” Joseph said. “We are just fine tuning. There are a lot of things to fine tune, but at the same time I think this meet really helped us identify what they were.”
In the men’s 4×100-meter relay, sprinters redshirt-freshman Donovan Robertson, junior Nick Batcha, junior Timothy Faust and senior Brandon Blackwell were victorious and ran their fastest time this season of 40.14 seconds. The time earned them a Top 30 performance nationally.
The men’s 4×400-meter relay had similar results. The relay, ran by sophomore Armand Austin, senior sprinter and hurdler Jordan Rispress, redshirt-senior Javon Walker and freshman LaMar Bruton, won with a time of 3:10.40.
Rispress also ran a personal-best time in the 400-meter hurdles of 51.51, earning him first place. Walker finished second in the 400-meter dash. Sophomore distance runner Jordan Redd finished third in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Finally, two Buckeye runners placed Top 5 in the 1500-meter run. Redshirt-sophomore distance runner Josh Sabo placed second and graduate senior Andy Arnold finished fourth.
Women’s coach Karen Dennis said while many athletes have made their way back to the track after injuries, they are still focused on getting everyone 100 percent healthy.
“There are things that are going well, but we have to continue to get people healthy, and in a better competitive posture for the future,” Dennis said.
Looking head, the men’s team is slated to compete Friday and Saturday at the Ole Miss Open in Oxford, Miss., and the women’s team is set to compete Thursday through Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Drake Relays.