Eagles win first ever national title

AU Athletics

Zach Read, MANAGING EDITOR OF THE COLLEGIAN

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One point is what decided the NCAA Division II Men’s Indoor Track and Field National Championship on Saturday in Pittsburgh, Kansas, and the 13 men from Ashland, Ohio were able to bring home the program’s first ever team national title.

It all came down to the final event, the 4×400-meter relay for the Ashland University men’s track and field team. The group of four, senior Myles Pringle, junior Paul Murray, sophomore Channing Phillips and freshman Brayden Chaney gave AU that one extra point to give them 38 points, one more point then second-place Adams State.

The relay team placed fifth (3:10.80) with Chaney crossing the finish line one one-hundredth of a second ahead of Grand Valley State, to give the Eagles the necessary points to win a national title.

“I talked to the guys about how every ounce was going to count. It was about passion, desire, heart. It needed to be about our team, our program, people of the past, friends and family,” AU associate head coach Ernie Clark said in an AU athletics press release. “We wanted to lay it all out there for all those things and Jud, but not just Jud – the program that he had built.

AU head coach Jud Logan was not able to travel to nationals due to a personal health situation but was proud of what his team accomplished.

“Regardless of me being there or not, our kids were on a mission to manifest our moments of significance. I am incredibly proud of associate head coach Ernie Clark and how he kept our team together in my absence,” Logan said in an AU athletics press release.

The fifth place finish earned the 4×400 Eagles relay team All-American status which was the 17th All-American award for Pringle, third for Phillips and the first All-American award for Chaney and Murray.

With a total of 38 team points, four of those came from the 4×400-meter relay team and 19 points came from three Eagle throwers in the men’s weight throw. Sophomore Brent Fairbanks placed second (21.14 meters) and juniors Nick Zak (21.06 meters) and Alex Hill (20.75) finished third and fourth, respectively.

Pringle also earned five points for placing fourth in the men’s high jump at 2.12 meters on Friday and earned his team 10 points by winning the 400-meter dash on the second day. Pringle crossed the finish line in 45.67 seconds which is the fastest time in Division II history as he won his sixth national title.

“I’ve been grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given,” Pringle said in an AU athletics press release. “Everybody at the beginning of the weekend, everyone said, ‘This is the last indoor meet of your career. You have to go out with a bang.’ This is my last year, and I like to think I made my mark.”

For Logan and the powerhouse Division II Eagles, Logan could not have summed it up any better.

“This one is for Eagle Nation.”

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