For the second year in a row, Ashland University's athletic department has teamed up with the greater Ashland community to help feed those in need during the Christmas season.
Members of the AU swimming and diving teams took more than 400 cans of food collected by 12 Eagle sports programs to Associated Charities on Friday (Dec. 11) to help the Ashland County Food Bank. The Eagle swimmers collected 100 cans for the cause.
The food drive was organized by Ashland University's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
"It was really exciting this year," said senior All-American Hannah Mattar, who also serves as AU SAAC Vice President, "because the swim team has never really been super-involved. This year, I really wanted to get more teams involved and more cans for Associated Charities. We talked about it every day after practice. It's been an exciting process, and everybody was receptive this year.
"Very proud of my team for bringing in so many cans and helping out. Everybody did an amazing job."
"I couldn't be more proud of them," said Ashland head swimming and diving coach Derick Roe, "every person on the team chipping in and helping the people of Ashland. I talked about it every single day at practice, being good citizens of Ashland and giving back. They came out with an unbelievable amount."
In addition to the swimming and diving teams, Eagle football, wrestling, men's basketball, track and field/cross country and volleyball all collected food. Food items also were collected from the public during the women's and men's basketball games at Kates Gymnasium on Wednesday (Dec. 9) against Hillsdale.
"I can't say enough about how impressive this group is," said Rachel O'Connor, Ashland Director of Sports Marketing and Promotions/SAAC Director. "Their motivation to do good for others, on campus and in the community, is outstanding. They should be very proud of themselves for everything they did with the canned food drive this year. I know I am.
"I was really impressed with how much the swimming coaches encouraged their athletes to take part in the food drive. Hearing Derick talk about getting the student-athletes fired up about winning was great. It means a lot when the coaches get on board and encourage their athletes to give back to this community."