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Branch 5th at PSU meet

UNIVERISTY PARK, Pa. — Tyler Branch is healing quite well.

After undergoing surgery on Dec. 11, Branch was slowly making his way back into shape for the Ohio State Buckeyes indoor track season.

Branch was back in form Saturday at the Penn State National Invitational meet as he finished fifth in the shot put event and earned a provisional qualifying mark for the nationals.

Branch — a former state champion shot put thrower for the Coal Grove Hornets — will try and secure his spot in the nationals next weekend at Nebraska or the Big Ten Indoor Championships to be held Feb. 19 in Minneapolis.

In the Penn State meet, Branch threw the 16-pound ball 58-3.25 on the second of his six throws to finish fifth.

Sheldon Battle — who competed unattached — won at 66-7.75 while Penn State took the next two spots with Joe Kovacs throwing 63-6.25 and Blake Eaton 60-1.

The Buckeyes’ Mat DeChant was seventh with a 57-5.5 distance.