For Ashland University's men's track and field team, there was only one way to follow a first-ever NCAA Division II indoor team national title by one point – win a first-ever NCAA Division II outdoor team national title by one point.
On the third and final day of the 2019 NCAA Division II Championships on Saturday (May 25) in Kingsville, Texas, the Eagle men rallied from a 29-point deficit to Angelo State through the first two days - and 41 points with six scoring events to go on Saturday - to finish with 54 team points to the Rams' 53. Ashland becomes the first Division II men's program to win both national titles in the same year since Saint Augustine's in 2014.
There have been 20 Division II indoor and outdoor national championships this decade, and Ashland's men have won two titles, finished runner-up five times, been third place four times, and placed fourth twice.
The national championship came down, once again, to the final event of the meet – the 4x400-meter relay. The quartet of sophomores Channing Phillips and Trevor Bassitt, freshman Keshun Jones and senior Myles Pringle finished second in 3:06.12, delivering the team title in the process.
"I knew well into the day, once Myles won the 400 and Trevor won the 400 (hurdles), that we would probably locked into second place, and I was going to be ecstatic about it," said Ashland head coach Jud Logan.
Logan also relayed the mantra of his fight with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia - "I don't need it to be easy. I just need it to be possible."
"That was the finishing philosophy of our team," he said. "We went into the last event, and it was possible."
Pringle finishes his illustrious collegiate career with seven individual/relay national titles and 21 All-American honors. Earlier on Saturday, he won the men's 400 dash national title in 45.61 seconds, placed fourth in the men's 200 dash in 21.25 seconds, and was seventh in the men's high jump at 2.08 meters/6-feet-9¾.
Bassitt, who had to miss 2019 indoor nationals due to injury, had an impressive Saturday, as well. He won a national title in the men's 400 hurdles in a career-best 51.39 seconds, and was second in the men's 110 hurdles in 13.74 seconds. Bassitt now has two national championships and five All-American citations.
For Phillips, he now has four All-American awards; for Jones, it's his first.
Ashland's women, with just four national qualifiers, finished with 25 team points and in 10th place – their best outdoors national finish since 2015 (seventh). The final 10 points for the Eagle women came when redshirt freshman Lindsay Baker earned her first D-II national title and third All-American award in the shot put.
Baker's top heave of 16.49 meters/54-feet-1¼ was a season-best, and it also was Logan's 50th throwing national championship at Ashland.
"The competition level in Division II is starting to rival Division I. Track's just getting better," said Logan. "We got that first one, and I think she's going to win many more."
In the men's shot put, junior Jake Glass took 12th place with a career-best mark of 17.74 meters/58-feet-2½.
After not being on-hand for the indoor title in Kansas, Logan was in Texas as his men's team won another national championship.
"I don't think people understand how satisfying it was for me to look on from the Cleveland Clinic," he said. "Honestly, I should never have to be there. I felt like us winning was a sign that our coaching staff had done a good job.
"To be there and be on the field and look into the eyes of people like Jim Toth…he was part of the aura of what this team is."
THE CHAMPIONSHIP BREAKDOWN (54 POINTS)
- 10 points - 400-meter dash (Pringle)
- 10 points - 400-meter hurdles (Bassitt)
- 8 points - 4x400-meter relay (Phillips/Bassitt/Jones/Pringle)
- 8 points - 110-meter hurdles (Bassitt)
- 6 points - hammer throw (Alex Hill)
- 5 points - discus throw (Hill)
- 5 points - 200-meter dash (Pringle)
- 2 points - high jump (Pringle)