It's going to be quite the week ahead for Ashland University's track and field program.
On Friday and Saturday (April 26-27), the No. 8-ranked men and No. 9-ranked women will compete at the Jesse Owens Relays at The Ohio State University – the last meet prior to the 2019 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships (May 1-3 at Grand Valley State).
"Anyone who qualified is in the meet," Ashland head coach Jud Logan said of the meet's qualifying standards. "Of our throwers, every single person we entered got in. I would say about 90 percent of our GLIAC team is competing at Jesse Owens."
In between those two meets, the 2019 NCAA Division II men's indoor national championship team will be honored with a parade and ceremony on Tuesday (April 30) at 3 p.m. DETAILS
Two of the events Logan and associate head coach Ernie Clark are looking to get higher on the D-II rolls are the men's 4x100-meter relay and the men's 4x400 relay. In the 4x100, the Eagles are ranked No. 17 (40.76 seconds) in the nation, and in the 4x400, AU is slotted in a tie for No. 27 (3:14.47).
"We're looking for both of those," Logan said. "The 4x4 will definitely include Myles (senior Myles Pringle). We think we have enough in the 4x1 that we don't stress Myles' injury in the 100 meters."
Logan said Pringle also will go in the men's high jump at OSU. Pringle is tied for 25th in the country at 2.05 meters/6-feet-8¾, and this event and the two relays are the ones the AU men are looking at to round out their scoring potential at D-II outdoor nationals (May 23-25 in Kingsville, Texas).
Ashland boasts three of the top five women's hammer throwers in Division II – senior Mackenzie Leigh at No. 2 (60.74 meters/199-feet-3), senior Natalie Helenthal at No. 4 (59.17 meters/194-feet-1) and redshirt freshman Lindsay Baker at No. 5 (58.04 meters/190-feet-5).
That makes Logan look ahead to the possibilities for the women's team at nationals, given the number of points that will be available in the hammer at the beginning of the meet.
"To be able to do that, and then potentially a Lindsay Baker wins the shot put, then scores up the leaderboard in the discus," Logan said, "and then (junior) Ellie Jindra does something in the high jump. Next thing you know, we've got four girls, and we're finding ourselves talking about being a top-five or six team in the country.
"Two years ago, we weren't having conversations like this. I wish I could find that fifth, sixth, seventh person. It can be pretty lonely and daunting with four girls, because you feel as if, 'if I mess up, we're done.'"
As for the parade/ceremony on Tuesday, Logan is looking forward to his student-athletes getting their moment in the sun.
"We hope that the community, we hope that the university comes out and supports that," said Logan. "Regardless, it's a big deal for us. We're looking forward to that."