During the day around Ashland University's campus, one might see senior thrower Jim Toth in his business attire, as he works in the AU Master of Business Administration (MBA) office about 20 hours a week.
Toth did a good deal of business during the first two indoor track and field meets of the 2018-19 season, and has earned a spot among the top men's weight throwers in NCAA Division II.
After graduating from Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School in Broadview Heights, Ohio, Toth began his collegiate career at Division I Pittsburgh. As a freshman walk-on, he competed at both the indoor and outdoor Atlantic Coast Conference championships, but once a scholarship wasn't in the offing, he set his sights on a new school and new track and field program to call home.
"To say the very least, I never settled coming to Ashland," Toth said. "Working under Jud Logan is an honor, it's a privilege. I'm extremely grateful to have been one of his athletes, because we've learned on the track, and even more off the track."
Prior to 2018-19, Toth's top mark in the indoor weight throw was 18.86 meters/61-feet-10½. He earned high marks from Logan for his work in the offseason and preseason leading up to the first meet of the new campaign, the Tiffin Alumni Open. It was there where Toth shattered his AU PR in the weight at 19.79 meters/64-feet-11¼, the No. 8 mark in the country heading into the new year.
"It's definitely a big transition, going from Division I to Division II," Toth said. "It's just incredible the atmosphere that coach Logan brings here, and how all the athletes rise to the occasion when it counts."
Said Logan, "He was somebody who had this frame, but was never going to be able to fully maximize his potential until he filled that frame out. I think he just assumed, coming into our weight-training program, coming into Convo, all of those things, that those things were just going to happen immediately. Jim's what we call a 'hard gainer,' which means that he eats more calories than other kids, that kid puts on five (pounds), Jim puts on one. So the progression was probably slower than he liked.
"And then when he started making progress, he tried to make up for lost time. And so what that caused him to be is always pressing. This year, he just realized that he is a hard gainer, and his throws were going to come up more incrementally. He's now learning to compartmentalize what happens during the week, and break that down into the pieces to get better, and allowing the weekend to reap the benefits."
Toth is looking to get to D-II indoor nationals (March 8-9 in Pittsburg, Kan.) in the weight throw, and to D-II outdoor nationals (May 23-25 in Kingsville, Texas) in the hammer throw and discus throw.
"It definitely makes you hungry," said Toth, "when you see all of your teammates going out there, performing, scoring points for your team. It only makes you want you do it even more, and work harder to achieve that same goal."
Added Logan, "We never thought that this, the weight, would be the one that would get him his first All-American. We thought it was going to be the discus, then the hammer, then the weight. All three are coming along, it's just that the weight is what's hitting first. So we're expecting big things outdoors in the hammer, and really big things outdoors in the discus. He's on a good path right now."
Ashland's men are ranked No. 4 in the indoor U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national preseason rankings, and the goal is to give the program its first Division II team national championship – indoors, outdoors or both.
"It feels very real," Toth said. "I honestly believe that we can do it this year, with all the guys that we have. I think if we work together, we'll make that dream come true."
Toth, who already has his undergrad degree at Ashland in entrepreneurship and supply chain management, is making sure he takes care of business in the class room, as well. He will graduate from the MBA program in May with a project management specialization.
"I'm starting some projects there," Toth said of the MBA office, "and I'm really excited about getting those going. I think they're going to make a big impact on the university.
"It's important to have a professional image if you are working as a professional for the organization, and I think that you are an extension of the facility you are a part of."