In heavyweight fights that take place in the ring, someone often leaves bloodied and bruised and can't fight again for weeks.
That's not the case when a heavyweight battle is lodged in track and field.
Sunday (Mar. 2) at Hillsdale, both AU track and field teams engaged in a swing-from-the-heels confrontation with Grand Valley State and the rest of the GLIAC. Both AU teams placed second and while the goal is always to finish first, no one will be down and out about this. AU posted plenty of good times, collected its fair share of first place awards and best of all, appears to be peaking just fine for the NCAA Division II championships in two weeks. The Ashland men are ranked third in the country and the AU women are fourth.
On Sunday, the AU men were second in a 13-team field with 138.5 points. Grand Valley State was first with 162 points and Tiffin was third with 79 points.
The GVSU women retained their conference crown with 159 points. Ashland claimed the second spot with 112.5 points and Findlay was third with 75 points. The women's field included 14 teams.
AU junior Drew Windle was named the GLIAC men's track athlete of the year and he was the Midwest Region men's track athlete of the year. Junior Jessica Bridenthal was the Midwest Region women's field athlete of the year and Megan Tomei was recognized as the GLIAC women's freshman field athlete of the year.
Windle won the 800 on Sunday in 1:50.26. That eclipsed the conference record of 1:50.38 he set last year. Windle was part of the 4X4 relay that finished first in 3:15.52. He was joined in that effort by Elijha Owens, Waquiem Comar and Jacob Cook.
On Saturday, Windle was part of the distance relay that won a conference championship.
The AU men went one-two in the mile. Brian Baum led the field at 4:11.53 and Nick Hall was second in 4:11.96.
Eric Thompkins was first in the 60 meters. His winning time was 6.84. Cook was the runner-up in the 400 meters (48.40).
Owens was second in the 60 hurdles. His time was 7.94 and that was better than the GLIAC record of 7.95 he set last year. Grand Valley State's Sean Wells also bettered the league record. He won the race in 7.87.
Owens was third in the 400 (48.53).
Donald Duke gave the Eagles 10 points with a first place finish in the shot put. His best mark was 60-10.5, which is an automatic qualifier for nationals.
The AU women received a first place finish from Jennifer Foster on Sunday. She led the field in the high jump. Her winning leap was 5-9.75.
Macy Caldwell was second in the 60 hurdles (8.65). That's a provisional qualifier for nationals.
Bridenthal was second in the shot put (50-7.25). She won a GLIAC championship in the weight throw on Saturday.