Last updated: August 24. 2013 2:50AM - 18 Views

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ADA – Repeating as a national champion is difficult.However, for Ohio Northern University’s Jimmy O’Brien, it’s a challenge he is eagerly awaiting to tackle.O’Brien, a junior, will try to defend his indoor 800-meter title this weekend when ONU plays host to the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday and Saturday. O’Brien is the outdoor 800-meter champion as well.ONU last played host to the NCAA Championships in 2002, after being the host site in 1995 and 1999.Joining O’Brien is teammate Ryan Robertson, who will compete in the long jump. Robertson, a senior, had the ninth-best mark in the nation this season when he recorded a season best jump of 23 feet, 4 inches at the Ohio Athletic Conference meet this past weekend. ONU’s men’s team won the conference team title.O’Brien (Pemberville Eastwood) enters the meet with the fourth-best time in the nation in the 800 (1:52.7). O’Brien, who is also an All-American in cross country, said he did toy with the idea of competing in the mile as well.“I tried to get a couple fast times in the mile, but it didn’t work out,” O’Brien said. “So, the mile had to take a backseat (to the 800). I qualified (provisionally) about a month ago (800 meters). It was nice not worrying about qualifying. Now, I’m just focused on getting ready.”This past weekend, O’Brien claimed four titles as he was named the OAC Distance Runner of the Meet. Among his victories at the league meet was his first-place finish in the mile (4:13.46), which was also a school record. The old school record in the mile was set in 1979. O’Brien also won his specialty, the 800. He was also part of the winning 1,600 relay and distance medley teams.Robertson (Pinkerington Central) is a two-time All-American in the long jump, finishing sixth at both the 2006 Outdoor and 2007 Indoor Championships.ONU assistant coach Jason Maus said the success of the school’s track and field program is the result of the recruiting process that is in place.“It’s all about recruiting,” Maus said. “You have to surround yourself with the athletes. I can coach all I want, but I have to get the athletes to come here.”Maus, a Heidelberg graduate and Van Wert native, is in his sixth season at ONU. He is the assistant under head coach Brian Cole. Cole is in his 10th season at ONU.TYSON GOING FOR A TITLE: Heidelberg’s Greg Tyson (Lima Senior) will be participating in the NCAA Meet this weekend. Tyson won the national indoor title in the long jump in both 2006 and ’07. Tyson is a 12-time national qualifier.Tyson comes into the meet with the third-best jump -- 7.26 meters -- in a field of 14 competitors.

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