Ashland University's qualifiers for the 2015 NCAA Division II Championships at Grand Valley State University got off to a quality start on Day 1 on Thursday (May 21), as five more All-American citations were added to the Eagle track and field program's rolls.
Three AU men's hammer throwers finished in the Top 7 to earn All-American honors. Senior Zac Ball placed third with a top mark of 207-feet-4/63.20 meters, sophomore Jordan Crayon was sixth (201-feet-0/61.26 meters) and senior Mack Taylor took seventh (197-feet-1/60.07 meters).
Former Eagle standout Ryan Loughney has the championship record in the event at 232-feet-1/70.74 meters, set in 2012. Findlay senior Justin Welch won the 2015 title at 221-feet-5/67.48 meters.
A pair of senior women's hammer throwers began the day strong for the Eagles, each turning in All-American efforts. Kim Habegger placed fourth with a top effort of 188-feet-3/57.39 meters, and Jessica Bridenthal was fifth with a top distance of 183-feet-3/55.86 meters.
The championship record in the women's hammer, set by former AU standout Jackie Jeschelnig in 2002 (212-feet-9/64.85 meters) is safe, despite Central Missouri junior Heavin Warner coming close in winning a national title (211-feet-1/64.35 meters).
Junior Elijha Owens served notice of his title potential for Saturday's (May 23, 4:20 p.m.) finals in the men's 400-meter intermediate hurdles during Thursday's prelims. Owens finished first with a time of 52.11 seconds, .26 seconds ahead of second-place Marquel Nickens, a senior from Pittsburg State.
Junior Nick Hall advanced to the finals in the men's 1,500-meter run with a 10th-place finish in Thursday's prelims in 3:53.79. Finals are scheduled for Saturday at 2:35 p.m.
The Division II national meet will continue on Friday (May 22) and conclude on Saturday.