The start of the 2017-18 indoor track and field season will be over almost as quickly as it began.
Ashland University's men's and women's teams will compete in their second meet of the campaign on Friday (Dec. 8) and Saturday (Dec. 9) at the Kent State Golden Flash Gala – then won't have another meet until Jan. 7.
"If kids weren't satisfied last week, well here's your chance," said Ashland head coach Jud Logan. "Here's another opportunity, because another one doesn't come for five weeks. We've had a great fall build-up, and we just want the kids to have that avenue to produce the results they showed they were capable of."
At the season-opening Tiffin Alumni Open on Saturday (Dec. 2), the Eagle men turned in an automatic and eight provisional marks, and the AU women four provos, for NCAA Division II indoor nationals, March 9-10 at Pittsburg State – and all were collected by underclassmen.
"This team, right now, showed out above coaches' expectations," Logan said. "You're never going to be perfect. We had a lot of great performances. We had a lot of surprises. We had good performances all over the board.
"It's a great blend of people who've been there, done that and got the t-shirt, and there's people who want that t-shirt very, very badly."
- Junior Natalie Helenthal earned her first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Women's Field Athlete of the Week award following a winning mark of 18.86 meters at Tiffin. That puts her at No. 3 in Division II through the season's first weekend.
- "That's something that she's been training for that moment," Logan said. "She'll trade that in for a podium finish at the NCAAs. She's been to three now…and she wants to get that podium finish. She wants to get that first-team All-American. She's working really hard."
- Sophomore Amber Otermat heads into Kent State with the seventh-best women's pole vault so far in D-II at 3.57 meters.
- "She came out of the gates hotter than she did last year, and she was frustrated," noted Logan. "She wants more. She doesn't ever want to miss an NCAA championship again."
- Logan noted the improvement in junior Jim Toth. His top weight throw distance prior to Tiffin was 16.82 meters. At Tiffin, Toth's top heave of 18.63 meters puts him at No. 5 in the country so far.
- Freshman Trevor Bassitt turned in a time of 8.12 in the men's 60-meter hurdles in his first collegiate meet – good not only for the No. 4 spot in Division II early on, but also narrowly missing the AU indoor men's freshman record of 8.11, set last season by now-sophomore Arthur Greenlee IV, who also turned in a provisional time of 8.22 at Tiffin.
- "Both him and Arthur are going to be major, major standouts for us this year," Logan said of Bassitt.
- Coming off an injury-filled 2016-17, senior Marie Hammer ended the day at Tiffin with marks of 9.33 seconds in the women's 60 hurdles, 1.57 meters in the high jump and 5.23 meters in the long jump.
- "She's going to do her first multi at Kent. She's hungry," said Logan. "She's been the leader of that jumps and multis group. We think, come conference time, that she's going to be poised to make the kind of score that will get her to the (national) meet."
Friday's action will begin at 12:30 p.m., and will include the women's and men's weight throw, the women's pole vault, the women's long jump, the women's and men's 5,000-meter run, the women's pentathlon and men's heptathlon. Saturday's events will start at 11 a.m.