Ohio will hit the road this weekend for the final time before the outdoor Mid-American Conference Championships.
A bulk of the team will travel to Hillsdale College in Michigan to compete against a deep field at the 52nd annual Gina Relays. Another portion of the team will travel to rival Miami to take part in the Redhawk Invitational.
For the second straight week and in good preparation for the upcoming conference championships, Ohio will see a large contingent of MAC teams. Central Michigan, Toledo, Akron, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Ball State and Bowling Green will all be in attendance at Hillsdale. Other notable teams in attendance include Wright State, Xavier, Oakland, Michigan State and Notre Dame.
Over 1,000 athletes are expected to compete at the Gina Relays. The Redhawk Invitational will feature more of a small-school field.
Ohio is peaking at the right time, too. Numerous personal records have fallen in the past two weeks and a couple MAC Championship bids have been punched as well.
The Bobcats have found an upward swing in momentum and it shows on the MAC performance lists.
The Bobcats have two athletes in the top 10 of the conference rankings in four events — the javelin, the hammer throw, the discus and the 10,000 meters. They are also represented by one athlete in the high jump, shot put and 800 meters.
The highest ranked athletes for Ohio are Emily Deering and Emma Ryan. Deering sits at third in the 800 meters with her new lifetime-best time of 2:10.45. Ryan ranks third in the javelin with her new season-best throw of 43.97 meters (144.3 feet).
Placing as many athletes as possible on the podium will be crucial for the Bobcats at the MAC Championships in two weeks. That’s why it’s such a positive sign to see athletes already positioning themselves for those coveted podium sports a couple weeks out.
The field events at the Redhawk Invitational kick off on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. The running events follow at 11:30 a.m.
Unlike the Redhawk Invitational, the Gina Relays will be contested all weekend long. Field events at Frank “Muddy” Water Stadium begin at noon on Friday while the running events begin later at 2 p.m. On Saturday, action in the field ignites at 10 a.m. Track events will follow at 1 p.m.
The Gina Relays will be a homecoming for Ohio coach Clay Calkins. After serving as a graduate assistant at Ohio for a year, Calkins picked up his first official coaching gig as an assistant for Hillsdale College in 1998.
He later returned to Ohio in 2002 following a successful tenure at Hillsdale where he coached a couple groups of field athletes to top-10 performances at nationals.