GENEVA, Ohio — The last time Ohio State won a men’s track and field Big Ten championship, Bill Clinton was a month into his presidency.
The men’s team ended its 25-year drought in the Big Ten indoor championship, while the women’s team finished tied for third with Indiana at the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio, on Saturday.
When freshman Andre Jeff crossed the finish line of the 4×400-meter dash to seal the victory against Nebraska, both men’s and women’s team circled around Jeff and erupted in excitement.
“It’s a feeling I’ve never experienced before and I’m never going to forget it,” senior Cole Gorski said
The meet came down to the 4×400-meter dash with Ohio State and Nebraska separated by just two points. Nebraska got off to a quick start, however junior Nick Gray put Ohio State in the lead before Jeff won it for the Buckeyes by a split second at 3:05.09. Places first through fifth were separated by less than one second.
Ohio State needed outstanding individual performances to put them in the position to claim the title. The Buckeyes had four Big Ten individual champions — Gray, Gorski, senior Zack Bazile and senior Nick Demaline.
Gray won the 200-meter dash with a time of 20.45. That time broke the Ohio State record, Big Ten championship record and Spire Institute record.
Bazile set a Spire Institute record with his winning long jump of 8.04 meters. So far this season, only three people in the country have surpassed the 8-meter threshold. Bazile has completed the feat twice this season.
In shot put, Demaline broke a personal record and recorded the fourth-farthest throw in the NCAA, winning with a throw of 20.24 meters.
Gorski captured a title in pole vault with a jump of 5.28 meters. Neither he nor Indiana sophomore Adam Coulon could clear 5.38 meters. Gorski claimed victory since he made it over 5.28 meters on his first attempt.
Gorski, who earlier this season said he was more focused on setting personal records, said he was satisfied with the win despite not setting a personal high.
In the men’s 60-meter dash, Ohio State scored with its depth. Junior Kendall Sheffield took the silver medal with a time of 6.71 seconds and Gray took bronze with a run of 6.79 seconds.
The Ohio State women’s track and field team finished third behind Minnesota, which won by 11.5 points for the team title.
The team was in fifth place before entering the women’s 4×400 meter. The Buckeyes finished second in the event to rise up to third place.
Junior Sade Olatoye claimed her second conference title in a row in the shot put with a heave of 17.27 meters. She also finished second in weight throw with an Ohio State-record-breaking throw of 23.74 meters, breaking her old record of 22.76. Minnesota senior Kaitlyn Long won with a throw of 24.37 meters.
Senior Chantel Ray took the gold medal in the 60-meter hurdles with a personal-best time of 8.21 seconds.
“I didn’t know I was in first place until I looked up at the board because I had a bad start. I was just focused on the line,” Ray said.
Freshman Anavia Battle brought home the bronze medal with a personal-record time of 7.42 seconds. Battle also took bronze in the 200-meter dash (23.24).
In triple-jump, Mikaela Seibert finished the day with a bronze medal with a combined total of 12.69 meters.
Junior Karrington Winters had the lead in the 600-meter run before she collapsed. She had to be escorted to the hospital by paramedics. Ohio State director of track and field Karen Dennis said Winters has regained feeling in her extremities.
This is the final indoor meet for most of the Buckeyes. Some are expected to head for the NCAA national championship in College Station, Texas, in two weeks, while others will prepare for the outdoor season.