Reaching the finish line

Eagles prepare for end of outdoor track season

Cade Cracas, Reporter

With the outdoor season in full swing, the Ashland University Track and Field team is locked in and looking for another piece of hardware to add to the trophy case.

The indoor track season for the Ashland Eagles was one to remember. It was marked with numerous personal records, standout stars such as Trevor Bassitt putting AU on the map, and the saddening passing of Jud Logan. Now, the nationally ranked Track & Field team shifts towards the outdoor season.

“My hope is that we can take the momentum and the lessons learned indoors and use them throughout the outdoor season.” Ashland University Athletic Director Al King said. “Our men missed winning the GMAC indoor championship by a hair and that’s a goal outdoors, capturing the conference championship. We have a lot of veterans in this program who know how to do that and they can help the younger members on our team.”

The Eagles’ outdoor season started off with the team splitting up and traveling to Rock Hill, S.C. for the Winthrop/Adidas Invitational, the Raleigh Relays in North Carolina, and the Yellow Jacket Collegiate Outdoor Open in Cedarville, Ohio.

At the Winthrop/Adidas Invitational, senior sprinter Cheyanne Davis highlighted the Eagles’ performance by winning the women’s 400 dash at Winthrop in 57.76 seconds.

At the Raleigh Relays, three seniors earned provisional marks for the 2022 NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships. Keshun Jones, a dual-sport athlete, placed sixth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.26 seconds. Thrower Nate Stout placed 18th in the men’s hammer throw with a throw of 56.93 meters in length. In the women’s hammer throw, Carrol Pauley placed 20th with a throw of 52.64 meters in length.

Out of the few runners heading to the Yellow Jacket Collegiate Outdoor Open, the most notable placement for the team came from senior Travis Moore. Moore placed first, winning the men’s 400-meter hurdles with a time of 54.89 seconds.

“The outdoor season kicked off to a great start for our team,” interim head coach Jacob Sussman said. “We have had a multitude of personal best performances and some very good national marks. Our team spirit has been this high all year. The team is really coming back into its own and starting to flourish as one and we are seeing that with their performances.”
In the Northeast Ohio Tri at the Dwight Schar Athletic Complex, four more NCAA provisional marks were earned by Eagles. Those marks going to: senior Trevor Bassitt in the men’s 400-meter hurdles with a record setting time of 49.74 seconds, senior Rachel Miller in the women’s 400 hurdles with a time of 1:01.15, sophomore Noah Koch in the men’s discus throw with a throw of 54.52 meters, and junior Erin Sievers in the women’s pole vault with 12.75 feet.
Recently, Ashland saw an improved provisional mark by Koch. Koch dominated the competition at the John Homon Open throwing the discus 58.03 meters, moving him into the top spot in Division II.
The other Eagles that earned provisionals at the John Homon Open were Trevor Bassitt in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.53 seconds, freshman Sydney Koker in the women’s high jump with a jump of 5 feet and 7 inches, and the men’s 4×100 relay team of senior Aaron Banks, Jones, sophomore Doniven Jackson, and senior Tim Rumas.
“I didn’t jump a mark that I’m satisfied with, but first place is always nice,” Koker said, “Hopefully I can get back to work and hit a new [personal record] before heading to Nationals for the outdoor season.”
As the Eagles continue to rise, they continue to look towards the NCAA Championships. First, they wrap up the regular season at home with the Ashland Alumni Open on April 29-30. Then, the team heads to Owensboro, Ky. for the GMAC Championships on May 4-6. Finally, the team will wrap up the marathon of a season with NCAA Outdoor Championships in Allendale, Mich. on May 26-28.