Sunday's (Feb. 24) second and final day of the 2019 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Championships was a last chance for Ashland University's men's and women's teams to not only earn conference honors, but get ready for 2019 NCAA Division II indoor nationals.
And the Eagle men and women certainly took advantage of that last chance, tallying five conference championships and 10 "movement marks" for indoor nationals, March 8-9 at Pittsburg State (Kan.).
Ashland's men took three of the top four spots in the men's heptathlon, and all were new provisional marks for indoor nationals. Sophomore Travis Moore won the title at 4,952 points, sophomore Garrick Manning was second at 4,906, and freshman Ethan Tabor was fourth at 4,837.
The men's triple jump saw sophomore Jared Ryder earn top honors with a mark of 14.20 meters/46-feet-7¼, while freshman Storm Elsesser was third (13.63 meters/44-feet-8¾), and junior Kyle D'Ambrosio was fifth (13.16 meters/43-feet-2¼).
In the men's 4x400-meter relay, the quartet of freshmen Brayden Chaney and Keshun Jones, junior Paul Murray and sophomore Channing Phillips won the GLIAC championship in 3:13.29 – one one-hundreth of a second faster than Grand Valley State's team.
Ashland's women put together team points in bunches, led by the high jump and shot put crews. In the high jump, junior Ellie Jindra earned automatic entry into indoor nationals with a win in at 1.76 meters/5-feet-9¼, while sophomore Miyuki Sugiyama was third (1.64 meters/5-feet-4½) and junior Paula Wollenslegel tied for fourth (1.60 meters/5-feet-3).
The men's shot put saw both juniors Nick Zak (third, 17.27 meters/56-feet-8) and Jake Glass (fourth, 17.11 meters/56-feet-1¾) improve upon their previous provisional distances, while sophomore David Amstutz (16.68 meters/54-feet-8¾) was fifth, and junior Alex Hill (15.80 meters/51-feet-10) was seventh.
Ashland's men had four placers in the 200 dash – Jones second (21.51 seconds, improved provisional), Phillips fourth (21.81 seconds), sophomore Kainnan Ramsey fifth (21.96 seconds), and freshman Tim Rumas seventh (22.07 seconds). In the men's 400 dash, Phillips was second with an improved provisional time of 47.89 seconds, and Chaney was fourth in 48.63 seconds.
In the men's pole vault, senior Jacob Sprague was second (4.58 meters/15-feet-0¼) and freshman Adam Keller sixth (4.38 meters/14-feet-4½), while Elsesser was tied for second in the men's high jump (1.99 meters/6-feet-6¼).
Ashland's men's team points were rounded out by Moore (fourth, 8.53 seconds) and Tabor (eighth, 8.99 seconds) in the 60 hurdles, Ramsey (fifth, 7.01 seconds) and Rumas (seventh, 7.05 seconds) in the 60 dash, Murray (sixth, 1:53.45) in the 800 run, and sophomore Ian Johnson (seventh, 4:15.25) in the mile run.
Senior Samantha Duale earned a new provisional mark in the women's 60 dash, finishing second in 7.59 seconds, while junior Gariana Bercheni was fifth in 7.78 seconds. Sugiyama was second in the women's triple jump (11.58 meters/38-feet-0).
In the women's 200 dash, sophomore Madeline Kreller was third with a new provisional time of 24.88 seconds, and Bercheni took eighth in 37.72 seconds. Bercheni was fourth in the women's 60 hurdles (8.85 seconds), and the 4x400 relay team of Kreller, freshman Destini Oler, senior Tiffany Pryce and sophomore Rachel Miller was fourth in 3:56.20.
Rounding out Ashland's women's point-scorers were Miller (fifth, 57.90 seconds) and freshman Cheyanne Davis (eighth, 1:00.87) in the 400 dash, and Oler (sixth, 2:16.54) and Pryce (seventh, 2:16.91) in the 800 run.
The post-meet awards were plentiful for the Eagles. Baker was named both the conference's women's field athlete of the year and freshman field athlete of the meet, Fairbanks is the GLIAC field athlete of the meet and field athlete of the year on the men's side, sophomore Trevor Bassitt is the men's track athlete of the year, Jones is the men's freshman track athlete of the meet, and the Eagle coaching staff earned the GLIAC men's coaching staff of the year honor.
The team scores saw both Eagle teams finish second to the Lakers. On the men's side, it was GVSU 220 to AU 180; on the women's side, GVSU 260 to AU 126.5.
Ashland's nationals qualifiers will be revealed on NCAA.com on Tuesday (Feb. 26) at 6 p.m.