Track and field prepares for indoor season

Track and field prepares for indoor season

Track and field prepares for indoor season

Dean Paolucci, Reporter

The Ashland University men and women’s track and field team entered the 2016-2017 season looking to continue their national success from last season. 

Last season both the men and women’s team finished fourth in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, allowing the Eagles to be eligible for the NCAA Division II National Championship. The women’s team finished tied for 37th place, while the men finished in a tie for ninth. The men finishing ninth, marked the fifth straight year, and the ninth of the last ten, that the men finished in the top 10 in the country outdoors.

The Eagles are led by head coach Jud Logan, who enters this season as his 23rd season at Ashland and his 12th as a head coach. Coach Logan, during his time at Ashland, has solidified himself as a tremendous coach. Since the 2005-06 season, Coach Logan has had 44 individual national champions in both indoors and outdoors. 

In that same time, Logan and the Eagles have finished with thirty-three top 10 national team placements in both indoors and outdoors.

The Eagles are currently ranked sixth in both the men and women’s in the Division II preseason polls. However, in an interview with Coach Logan when asked about the preseason rankings, he felt that the rankings do not mean a lot to his team.

 “As a coach, you just want to know that your team is improving,” Logan said, “Until the rankings go with what is the current performances of the 2016-17 season, which isn’t until about the fourth or fifth rankings, they really don’t mean a lot.”

When it comes to winning, you must have upperclassmen and senior leadership. For the men’s, Coach Logan says that one of the leaders is Eagle’s thrower and national champion, Jordan Crayon. Crayon, out of Rogers High School in Toledo, won his first national championship in the indoor weight throw, by throwing a top mark of 21.81 meters. 

Logan also goes on to say that NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championship qualifier, Nick Hall, is another leader on the team. Hall, who placed 16th at the Division II championship, received a Second Team All American award in his second appearance. 

The final leader that Logan looks forward to is the sprinter, Brandon Freeman. Freeman, out of Nordonia High School in Macedonia, Ohio, earned a spot at nationals in the 4×1 relay, which earned him All-Region honors in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Logan says those are the three leaders that he will lean on this season.

On the womens side, Logan says that one of the senior leadership roles goes to thrower and GLIAC Women’s Field Athlete of the Year, Megan Tomei. Tomei competed in indoor nationals in shot put and the weight throw, and at outdoor nationals in the shot put and the hammer throw. 

She also earned All-Region honors in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for indoors and outdoors. Logan also points to Rebecca Koval, who is a Division II indoor national qualifier in jumps. Koval was the winner in the high jump at the outdoor All-Ohio Championships and earned All-Region in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. 

The final leader for the women that Logan states is GLIAC indoor 4×4 winner and sprinter, Nuri Lee. Lee, along with the GLIAC win, also won titles at the 400 meter dash and the 4×4 at the Findlay Open last season.

When asked about the biggest and most important meets this year, Coach Logan pointed to the Findlay Elite meeting, where some of the best throwers in the United States are invited to compete against one another, on January 27th and 28th. During that same weekend, the Eagle’s sprinters and distance runners will compete in the Penn Nationals at Penn State University. 

“Those are two very big meets for us. We’ll go up with a small group to the Grand Valley Big Meet”, Logan said, “And then, of course, the GLIAC Championships and the NCAA. So, that’s our focus.”

“Last year was kind of a reloading year,” Logan said, “And this year we are expecting to perform better at the NCAA’s with both genders.” Overall, the stage is set for a truly remarkable season for the Eagles.

The Eagles opened their season on Dec. 3 at the Tiffin Alumni Open where the men and women’s teams combined for 12 provisional efforts for the NCAA Division II National Championships in March.

They will compete again at the Golden Flash Gala at Kent State on Dec. 9.