Ashland University's men's and women's outdoor track and field teams will continue their tour of Ohio on Friday (April 6) and Saturday (April 7) at Akron's Northeast Ohio Quad.
Friday will feature the women's and men's hammer throw, starting at 3:30 p.m. The remainder of the quad will start on Saturday at 10 a.m.
"It's going to be a little different this year," said Ashland head coach Jud Logan. "We've got to have 10 events outside for it to be a 'legal' meet. Everything else is going to be inside. Those opportunities will give our kids a great chance to prevent getting hurt in the cold weather…the problem is, they can't be recognized as NCAA marks or conference-qualifying marks.
"The throwers are just going to be outside, and the distance kids are going to be outside. We can still get some work done."
The remainder of the outdoor season comes quickly, as the rest of April has the Miami (Ohio) Duals on the 14th, the Jesse Owens Track Classic at Ohio State on the 20th and 21st, and the ninth Ashland Alumni Open on the 27th and 28th. After that, the 2018 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships will be May 2-4 in Ashland, followed by 2018 NCAA Division II outdoor nationals, May 24-26 in Charlotte, N.C.
"We're coming up on the four weeks that really matter for a lot of the kids on our team," Logan said.
Through March, Ashland has six marks on the men's side and four on the women's side which could qualify for outdoor nationals. One of those nationals-caliber performances early in the outdoor season was turned in by freshman Trevor Bassitt, who ranks sixth in the nation in the men's 110-meter hurdles at 14.15 seconds.
Bassitt was an All-American as a member of the 4x400 relay at 2018 indoor nationals in March, and his 110 hurdles time is an Ashland freshman record.
"To get that freshman record and to be headed in the direction he's heading, he's certainly looking like the Freshman of the Year on the running side at the conference level, to me," Logan said.
Junior Jacob Sprague is a potential key figure at the conference and national levels in the pole vault for the AU men moving forward after redshirting in the winter.
"We think he's got that type of potential," Logan said.
On the women's side, sophomore pole vaulter Amber Otermat is one to watch going forward, along with high jumpers Hannah Bartlome (senior) and Paula Wollenslegel and Ellie Jindra (sophomores), and senior Marie Hammer in the multis.
Then there is senior Megan Tomei, who made her return to outdoor competition for the first time since 2016 due to injury at the Weems Baskin Relays in South Carolina. She ranks second in the country in the women's shot put (15.44 meters/50-feet-8), and eighth in the women's hammer throw (56.39 meters/185-feet-0).
"That hammer mark's going to go way up," Logan said. "We think she can contend for a (national) title in the shot, and we think she can be All-American in the hammer."
Also this weekend, junior Myles Pringle will compete for the first time in the outdoor season at the 39th Sun Angel Classic in Tempe, Ariz.
"We knew we wanted to get him some early-season competition," said Logan. "We're excited. We should get some good news coming out of Arizona, and get ready to roll."