It was a big afternoon for Ashland University's women's outdoor track and field team on the third and final day of the 2016 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships on Friday (May 6) at Ferris State.
Seniors Jamie Sindelar and Lauren Ellsworth and sophomore Irene Skinner all won GLIAC titles on Friday, as the AU women finished in fourth place as a team. Sindelar, who entered the top 10 in all-time Division II women's shot put distances at the Ashland Alumni Open, won a conference title with a top mark of 15.24 meters/50-feet-0.
Skinner's winning time of 54.19 seconds in the 400-meter dash is an improved provisional mark for Division II nationals, while Ellsworth crossed the finish line first in the 100 dash in 11.84.
The Eagle women finished with 93.6 team points, trailing only Grand Valley State (183.5), Hillsdale (110.1) and Findlay (108).
Skinner and Ellsworth contributed many points as Friday progressed, including finishing 2-3 (Skinner 24.80, Ellsworth 24.94) in the 200 dash. Skinner and Ellsworth teamed up with freshman Samantha Duale and junior Shelby Jordan to take second in the 4x100 relay (46.38), and joined senior Abby Strock and sophomore Nuri Lee to finish fourth in the 4x400 relay (3:49.47).
Sophomore Hannah Bartlome ended a strong week with a second-place finish in the high jump (1.64 meters/5-feet-4½), and junior Rebecca Koval tied for seventh (1.59 meters/5-feet-2½). Junior Megan Tomei was fifth in the shot put (14.05 meters/46-feet-1¼), while Lee was seventh in the triple jump (10.99 meters/36-feet-0¾).
On the men's side on Friday, junior Jason Zahn won a GLIAC crown in the discus – and put himself into the NCAA nationals in the process. Zahn's top mark of 55.99 meters/183-feet-8 is an automatic qualifier for the national meet.
Ashland had four of the top eight men's shot putters on Friday. Sophomore Elijah Talk took third (17.65 meters/57-feet-11) and Zahn fourth (17.45 meters/57-feet-3), both with improved national provisional distances. Senior Zac Papay was seventh (15.99 meters/52-feet-5½), and freshman Brandon Sicurella took eighth (15.93 meters/52-feet-3¼).
Senior Eric Thompkins placed fourth in the 200 dash (21.92) and fifth in the 100 dash (10.64), with freshman Brandon Wilson taking sixth in the 100 (10.67). Sophomore William Robinson (fourth, 15.42) and freshman Devin Snowden (fifth, 15.49) placed in the 110 hurdles, as well as the 400 hurdles (Snowden fourth, 53.66; Robinson sixth, 54.28).
The 4x100 relay team of Wilson, freshman Myles Pringle, junior Brandon Freeman and Thompkins was fifth (42.52), senior David Knack placed sixth in the 5,000 run (15:03.85) and the 4x400 relay team of Freeman, sophomore Ryan VanCauwenbergh, Pringle and junior Columbus Millet was eighth (3:19.87).
AU's men finished fourth as a team, as well, with 81.5 points. GVSU won (190.5), followed by Tiffin (155) and Hillsdale (121).
Ashland's men and women will compete in a "last-chance weekend" on May 13-14. Those Eagles who qualify will go to the 2016 NCAA Division II Championships, May 26-28 in Bradenton, Fla.