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Ohio State earned a lot of titles this weekend

The sports information department, women’s rowing and men’s track and field all had big days.

“There are so many strong sports information departments around the nation. We are grateful for all of them. But this award is meant to honor the best of the best. It’s for those SIDs who provide strong media services and go the extra mile to help above and beyond the call of duty.”

-Tim Griffin, FWAA chairman of the Super 11 committee

Ohio State athletics took home yet another honor Monday as the sports information department was recognized as a “Super 11” Award honoree for 2017 by the Football Writers of America Association, represented by sports information director Jerry Emig. This year is the first that Ohio State has been received this honor. The award, in its ninth season, recognizes the top-11 sports information programs in the Football Bowl Subdivision for the previous season. The other 10 programs--USC, Georgia, Clemson, Colorado, Houston, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Miami of Ohio, Rice and South Alabama--have all won the award previously, with USC having taken it home a record eight times.

“We believe we have a great mix of schools here,” said FWWA executive director Steve Richardson. “Some schools which have been consistently good over the years, others who have had some history of being at the top and one new school. And there are several others who are on the cusp and could be in the Super 11 in future years.”

Selection criteria for the award include exhibiting excellent media relations practices, such as making players, coaches and assistant coaches available to the media for interviews at various points throughout the week and following games, and instituting press box protocols such as “no cheering” policies and rules relating to the presence of boosters in certain areas. Departments are judged on the “quality and timeliness” of the information they provide to the media and responsiveness to media inquiries. The committee also evaluated official websites, including the information included and the frequency with which the sites are updated.

While the award is specific to sports information related to the football program, sports information is a part of many different programs at Ohio State which work to communicate with the public and the media on behalf of the department of athletics.

The Ohio State Buckeyes women’s rowing team has become one of the most consistently outstanding programs in college sports in recent memory. Last year was the team’s “poorest” performance in five seasons as the Buckeyes ended 2017 with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. In 2016, Ohio State earned a runner-up finish at the championships. Previously, from 2013-15, the Buckeyes swept their competition, earning three-straight national titles.

This year’s squad looks to continue that legacy. At the Big Ten Championships in Indianapolis Sunday, Ohio State took home its sixth-straight conference title. The championship is also the ninth overall in program history. Even more impressive, the crew did it while winning every single one of the seven races held during the championships, ending with the first varsity eight cruising to a win over Michigan in the last race of the day. It is the first time since 2013, when a new scoring format was introduced, that one team has won all events. The 192 points Ohio State earned is a perfect score, and gave the Buckeyes a healthy margin over second-place Michigan, who finished with 163 points. Wisconsin (118), Iowa (111) and Indiana (95) rounded out the top-five, with eight Big Ten programs participating overall.

In addition, three Buckeye rowers--Ida Kruse, Rachel Engel and Cassandra Johnson--earned first-team All-Big Ten honors following the championships. Two more--Alex Riley and Lexie Nothdurft--earned second-team honors.

With the win, Ohio State earned yet another automatic berth to the NCAA Championships, scheduled for May 25-27 in Sarasota, Florida. The Buckeyes have been strong throughout the relatively short rowing season (made shorter with the cancellation of a dual meet in April), and are ranked fourth nationally behind Washington, Cal and Texas. Three of the seven crews are undefeated on the season, including the first varsity four, second varsity four and first novice eight. The team as a whole has lost just four races this year.

“It was our time and this group of men was the one to make it happen. We had some outstanding performances with championships and personal bests.”

-Karen Dennis, Ohio State director of track and field and cross country, via The Ohio State University

Ohio State track and field also had a big weekend in Indiana as the men’s team took home its fifth conference title in program history and its first since 1993. The team totaled 109 points in their events over the course of the weekend, including first-place finishes in three events. The team earned an overall first-place finish by 21 points. Indiana came in second with 88 points, with Nebraska, Michigan and Penn State finishing behind. The win comes on the tails of Ohio State’s indoor championship in February. That title was also the program’s first since 1993.

Senior Zack Bazile brought home the first title of the weekend as he gave the Buckeyes a first-place finish in the long jump Saturday, finishing at 8.03 meters. Freshman Eric Harrison, meanwhile, took home the gold in the 200-meter with a time of 20.39 seconds, with teammate Nick Gray right behind him in second place. Perhaps the strongest performance of the day came from the 4x100 team of Bazile, Harrison, Duan Asemota and Drelan Bramwell. Clocking in at 38.93 seconds, the time broke the previous Big Ten Outdoor Championship event record set by Ohio State in 1993. Ohio State also took home second-place finishes in the triple jump, the 100-meter dash, pole vault and shot put.

Both Bazile and Harrison earned first team All-Big Ten honors, as did teammates Asemota and Bramwell, both of whom are seniors. Four more athletes on the men’s squad garnered second team All-Big Ten honors.

The women’s squad earned a fifth-place finish in the championships, headlined by second-place finishes in the 4x400, 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash. Six members of the women’s squad also earned second team All-Big Ten honors for the season.

The NCAA Division ! outdoor championships are scheduled for June 6-9 in Eugene, Oregon.