After just one spring event, the Adidas Winthrop Invitational in Rock Hill, S.C., Ashland University's women's and men's outdoor track and field teams shot up the NCAA Division II national rankings to No. 9 and 12, respectively, and earned all four Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference weekly awards.
The Eagles on Friday and Saturday (March 29-30) will travel to the Wooster Invitational for outdoor weekend No. 2.
"It will be a trimmed-down crew, for sure," said Ashland head coach Jud Logan. "None of the NCAA throwers are going to throw at Wooster. We need this week to get some training in."
Logan explained the reason why no AU athletes are going to the Raleigh (N.C.) Relays this weekend, as originally scheduled. Instead, a select group will go to the 52nd Tennessee Relays on April 11-13, hosted by the University of Tennessee. The Volunteers' throws coach, John Newell, is a former post-collegiate trainee of Logan's.
"He had a lot to do with getting our squad in there," Logan said. "That's a big deal. They don't let many D-II schools in that meet. For the type of competition that our relays and Myles and our throwers are going to really need, the opportunity came up…and that's why we're going to stay local this week."
BAKER HEADING TOWARD ELITE AU COMPANY
Redshirt freshman Lindsay Baker is ranked No. 4 in the nation in the shot put (14.95 meters/49-feet-0¾), No. 5 in the hammer throw (54.08 meters/177-feet-5) and No. 10 in the discus (47.07 meters/154-feet-5).
"Doing three events is really, really tough," said Logan, who mentioned the likes of Adriane Blewitt, Jackie Jeschelnig and Jen Tinney. "It's difficult, but Lindsay is cut out for that. She's such a good competitor, and her shot and discus are so strong, and she really has fallen in love with the hammer. She's moving toward her strengths now."
POP GETS THE RARE PLATINUM STAR
On the surface, redshirt freshman Makayla Pop earning a provisional nationals mark in the discus and ranking No. 13 in the country at 46.21 meters/151-feet-7 is good. But Logan couldn't wait to discus the strides she's made.
"So let's talk about this," said Logan. "In 25 years of coaching, I've never had anyone make as big of an improvement from redshirt freshman year to this year as Makayla Pop did. Last year, she threw 117 feet in the discus. She was 135 out of high school (before an injury last year).
"I get a text message that she's thrown 142 in her very first throw of the meet, and I said, 'You're kidding, right?' I was questioning it, because we've only been throwing into a net all winter long. She's worked incredibly hard, and the guys have told me she's coming. And then they texted me back and said, 'She just threw 151 and she's provo now.' We talk each week in our throwing group about gold stars. I decided, for the first time in 25 years, I had my first platinum."
EAGLES LAND THE GLIAC GRAND SLAM
"And good for (distance coach) Jake Sussman, because Tiffany's kind of his horse right now," Logan said. "He thinks that's his best chance to get someone to the national meet. And then seeing the guys go 1-2 in the 800 (sophomores Ian Johnson and Sam Shockey), that's really good to see those guys…we had a lot of success down there at that meet.
"But those GLIAC awards, those are nice. Just really happy that we're building on the success that we had indoors."