In what was the final home meet ever for several members of Ohio State’s track and field team, senior Christine Frederick made sure to end her time in Columbus with a bang, finishing first the 5,000-meter run with a time of 16:25 in the Jesse Owens Classic on Friday.
That time beat her personal best in the event, which she set last season, by 17 seconds.
Frederick was shoulder-to-shoulder early in the event with her teammate, junior Claire Willis, who finished fourth. Frederick was trailing just one runner by the second lap, but inched out ahead in the final lap to finish first.
“I was really lucky to have my teammates in the race,” Frederick said. “We got to work together, it’s a beautiful night and I was just taking in the whole experience, I really enjoyed it.”
The run included a pacemaker — sometimes referred to as a rabbit — which is an Ohio State athlete that leads the pace for the runners from the start of the race.
Distance and cross country coach Sara Vergote said the purpose of having a “rabbit” was to try to ensure every runner paces themselves and does not get carried away early in the race.
“The other reason we need to do that is because we had such a tough spring in terms of weather. Every time we have gone to a meet its been raining or snowing or windy,” Vergote said. “So, this has been a really good set up for us tonight because this is probably one of the first times we’ve raced in really nice weather in the Midwest.”
It was especially important Friday to have a pacemaker because the Buckeyes need qualifying times for the regional championships, meaning they needed to be faster in the Jesse Owens Classic.
Frederick added that the rabbit helped her set the tone of the race by the end.
Last year in the 5,000-meter run, Frederick set a then-personal best time of 16:42. This year though, she was able to improve that record by 17 seconds. She attributed the success to the combination of training and support from her teammates.
“Shawn, our trainer, has really kept me healthy and just having my teammates being able to work with me, they each have brought different attributes to training,” Frederick said. “Which has really changed it to help me PR this year.”
Overall, junior Sade Olatoye won as an unattached athlete with a 64.50-meter throw in the women’s hammer throw, while sophomore Alexis Dowdy placed third with a 54.76-meter throw.
It was also the final home meet for senior Kevin Blank, who placed third in the 1,500-meter run showcase with a time of 3:49:57.
Blanks was tied with his opponent for third going into the last lap, but in the end, he was determined to place among the top three finishers.
“We were definitely trying to go for the win and it was close at to the end, but it was a really good field,” Blank said. “To come out here and compete well in my last year is definitely something I can walk away with and feel happy about.”
Blank said maintaining a consistent pattern with the coaches and a routine throughout the season helped him place in the 1,500-meter run.
“We do the same thing every time whether it’s a workout or a race, we have our normal routine,” Blanks said.
Senior Jack Edwards won first place as an unattached athlete with a time of 3:48:95. Sophomore Daniel Mastropaolo placed fourth in the javelin throw with at 57.71 meters.