Former Ashland University track standout Drew Windle is used to going fast.
It hasn't taken Windle long to go from the top of the NCAA Division II ranks to becoming one of the top 800-meter runners in the United States.
Now, just two years after graduation, Windle will take his talents overseas, as he will be part of Team USA at the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships, Aug. 4-13 in London, England. The men's 800-meter first round will be Aug. 5 at 7:45 a.m. Eastern, the semifinals will be Aug. 6 at 4:15 p.m. Eastern and the finals will be Aug. 8 at 4:35 p.m. Eastern.
Windle earned his place on Team USA after finishing third in the men's 800 at the USA Track & Field 2017 Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif., on June 25. He crossed the finish line that day in 1:44.95, a personal record at the time.
"I entered the meet with the third- or fourth-best time in the U.S., so I knew I had a good shot," Windle said. "You have to make it through the rounds first, which is almost harder than doing well in the final. I just kind of took it one day at a time.
"Once I made the final, Clayton Murphy, one of the favorites, ended up dropping out of the final due to injury, so that just opened up a spot, and I just took advantage of the opportunity."
It didn't take Windle long to improve upon that PR, as he finished the 800 in 1:44.63 on July 6 in New York City.
"It was nice to set a new PR and get some wins under my belt," he said. "Just took the momentum from making the team into winning some other races."
Windle placed himself throughout the Ashland track and field record book, winning eight NCAA Division II national championships – six combined indoors and outdoors in the 800 run, one indoors in the 4x400 relay and one indoors in the distance medley relay.
He is a 15-time All-American, and still claims school records in the indoor 800 run (1:46.52), as part of the indoor 4x400 relay (3:09.38) and the indoor DMR (9:49.14), and the outdoor 800 run (1:46.91).
Windle was the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) men's indoor track and field athlete of the year in both 2013 and 2014, and was the Ashland male 2014-15 Student-Athlete of the Year.
"I was kind of a big fish in a small pond at Ashland," Windle said, "and because of that, I was able to learn about my own racing style and what race suits me best. And I learned how to win a lot. Winning is more of an acquired skill more than anything.
"Also, just being able to train at my own pace through four years of college, instead of going to a Division I school and trying to gain a lot of fitness in the first year and then stagnating for the next three years. It's allowed me to have a lot of growth my first two years as a pro."
Windle's pro career has been spent with Brooks Beasts Track Club in Seattle, Wash.
"My first year was just a big transition year, first year living far away from home, new training program, new teammates, just a lot of things to juggle and balance," said Windle. "I PRed last year, but that was the highlight of the year. I was just tired at the end of the year. This year was all about doing the same things I did last year, but doing it more consistently and doing it better.
"Now I've got all the resources and the opportunity, and when you combine that with focus and hard work, good things come."
Windle's next stop will be next month in London. As of July 19, his PR ranks him the No. 11 men's 800 runner in the world.
"My goal is the same as my goals were at the U.S. Championships," Windle said. "If you can make it through rounds and make it to the finals, anything can happen. I'm just going to have to utilize my skill set and see how far I can make it into the meet, and then anything can happen."