This is the most exciting time in the college track and field season. The race is on to see who can win a national championship. That comes in a week.
The race for awards - team and individual - started this week.
As usual, the Ashland University Eagles are well represented on and off the track. This week, the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association announced its all-region teams. AU had 23 athletes - 15 men and eight women, named to that list.
For the men, the 15 Eagles collected 25 all-region awards. That tied AU for the third highest total in the nation.
To earn all-region laurels, an athlete must place in the top five in the region in his or her event. The top three relays in each region earn all-region status.
It's no secret that AU's Elijha Owens has had an exceptional year. The all-region awards reflected that. The junior earned all-region honors in the 400 hurdles, 110 hurdles, the 4X1 and the 4X4.
The rest of the men honored include Zac Ball (hammer), Brian Baum (1500/steeplechase), Bryn Campbell (hammer), Tyler Chancellor (decathlon), Jared Conklin (hammer), Jacob Cook (400/4X1/4X4), Donald Duke (shot put), Brandon Freeman (4X1/4X4), Elliott Kreim (javelin), Cory Lamar (400/4X1/4X4), Chris Powell (discus), Kyle Steinhauser (discus), Drew Windle (800/1500) and Jason Zahn (discus).
Macy Caldwell led the AU women by earning all-region plaudits in three events - the 100 hurdles, high jump and heptathlon. The other women on the list include Jennifer Bjelac (long jump), Jessica Bridenthal (shot put/hammer), Jennifer Foster (high jump), Kim Habegger (hammer), Jamie Sindelar (shot put/discus), Cynthia Watt (hammer), Shaunisha Winter (triple jump).
The Eagles will be at Grand Valley State next weekend for the NCAA Division II championships. The AU men are ranked third in the country and the Ashland women are fifth.