“Don’t ask for easy, only ask for possible”

Men's Track & Field Team Make History

Eagle men pose for a picture after winning the NCAA Division II outdoor team national championship

AU Athletics

Eagle men pose for a picture after winning the NCAA Division II outdoor team national championship

Evan Laux, SPORTS EDITOR FOR THE COLLEGIAN

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The 2018-2019 athletic season will go down as a special moment in Ashland University history; a year of firsts and a year of great accomplishments all across the board.

Men’s tennis returned to campus for the first time since the mid-1990s while esports and women’s lacrosse had their inaugural year on campus.

Eagle baseball broke records last spring on the way to its first Division II College World Series appearance in 11 years while men’s and women’s basketball ended their season with a record of 23-7 and 29-3 respectively.

A trio of Ashland wrestlers qualified for D-II nationals and the AU volleyball team ended with a 25-7 mark and a midwest regional appearance in Kevin Foeman’s first season as head coach just to name a few.

None of these accomplishments, however, can outclass the monumental performance displayed by the men’s track and field team over the 2018-2019 indoor and outdoor season.

“First of all, we’ve been close,” head track and field coach Jud Logan said. “We’ve had four second-place finishes in the past ten years… it’s just been a matter of time before we won it.”

It all came down to one race. In the final event of the 2019 NCAA D-II Indoor Championships on March 9 at Pittsburg State (Kan.), the Eagles’ men’s 4×400-meter relay team crossed the finish line in 3:10.80. This fifth place finish by one one-hundredth of a second allowed AU to acquire their first ever NCAA D- II indoor team national championship, by one point.

“This was our first national championship, but the men have been national runner ups four times and the women two times. This program is phenomenal and this national championship is just another part of our team’s journey. It’s all earned and deserved,” AU associate head coach Ernie Clark said.

While the Eagle men were claiming their first championship title, head coach Jud Logan was stuck in a hospital bed at the Cleveland Clinic watching the championship on his Ipad.

A few weeks prior, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a childhood disease that only afflicts about 300 males in the United States over the age of 40.

Although circumstances looked grim, Logan immediately decided that he would not feel sorry for himself.

Instead, he would assume the mantra that his daughter offered him: “The magnitude of which you are tested is also the magnitude of which you are strengthened.” This eventually became one of the recurring slogans that would summarize the team’s season as a whole, along with Logan’s coaching motto, “Don’t ask for easy, only for possible.”

Fast forward to May and Logan had undergone two phases of chemotherapy and was well enough to coach most of the outdoor season.

Upon Logan’s return, morale was boosted and the Eagles were ranked sixth in the nation going into the NCAA D-II outdoor team national championship.

By the final day of the championship, a second national title seemed out of the question as AU was trailing by 41 points to Angelo State with only six events left.

Despite the odds, hope still remained.

AU Athletics
Head Coach Jud Logan delivers speech following the NCAA Division-II Indoor team national championship

“We’re too stubborn to quit when others think we should,” then-sophomore Trevor Bassitt said. “We keep fighting and we get back up no matter how often we’re knocked down. One thing that’s impossible in life is to beat someone who nevers gives up, we’re proof of that.”

Senior Myles Pringle won the 400, then came out of nowhere to take fourth in the 200. Bassitt won the 400 hurdles and placed second in the 110 hurdles. The Eagles started stacking points. Meanwhile, Angelo State started to lose momentum.

Once again, the Eagles would end up clinching the national championship by a single point (Final score: Ashland 54, Angelo State 53).

With a second NCAA D-II indoor team national championship, AU’s men’s track and field team became the first D-II team since Saint Augustine’s in 2014 to earn both indoor and outdoor team championships in the same calendar year.

The 2018-2019 season saw standout performances from the likes of freshman Tim Rumas, sophomores Trevor Bassitt, Channing Phillips, Brent Fairbanks, Juniors Nick Zak and Jake Glass, and seniors Jim Toth and Myles Pringle.

Pringle finished his distinguished collegiate career with seven individual/relay national titles and 21 All-American honors along with the fastest 400-meter time in D-II history (45.67 seconds).

Bassitt would go on to compete in the USATF Outdoor Championships alongside Pringle and three AU alumni and finish 13th in the US in the 400-meter hurdles and 17th in the 110-meter hurdles.

“Coach Clark and I knew early on that we had a special group this year, there was an absolute opportunity for something great,” Logan said. “As for next season, we just need to find our identity early on and build trust. The rest usually comes together by itself.”

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