Even though the original plan for Tuesday (April 30) afternoon was a parade followed by a ceremony outside at Ferguson Field, Mother Nature had other ideas.
So the ceremony to honor the 2019 NCAA Division II team national-champion Ashland University men's indoor track and field team was moved – fittingly – indoors to a standing-room-only VIP Room in the Robert Troop Center.
"This is a program that's been strong for a lot of years. We've been close to a championship a lot of times," said Ashland Director of Athletics Al King. "This last time, nobody beat them. They won it. When I look at our program, this is what I know every year – that we're going to have plenty of talent. Those people are going to coached better than anyone in the country.
"This isn't an end line here today. We're good enough to do that every year, and there's not a lot of places that can say that."
Following King's introduction, Matt Miller, Mayor of the City of Ashland and an AU graduate, issued a proclamation to the team, something he says he rarely has done during his term.
"When we do, we want them to matter," Miller said. "We are glad to have you today. The reason why I am here, and why I want to honor these gentlemen is because they have represented that Ashland name all too well on a national stage."
Associate head coach Ernie Clark, who led the team in head coach Jud Logan's absence at the national meet, spoke of Logan, who was fighting B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, although the athletes didn't know that at the time. Clark said he sent a quote to Logan prior to indoor nationals – "We don't need it to be easy. We just need it to be possible."
All of the members of the team which went to Pittsburg, Kan., were introduced – seniors Myles Pringle (who also gave a speech on Tuesday) and Jim Toth, juniors Alex Hill, Paul Murray and Nick Zak, sophomores Trevor Bassitt, Brent Fairbanks and Channing Phillips, and freshman Brayden Chaney. The members of the coaching staff also were recognized – Clark, director of track and field operations Jacob Sussman, jumps/mulits coach Abby Majesky and assistant throws coach Elijah Talk.
But the afternoon belonged to Logan, who began his remarks by introducing his mother, Gloria, and ended them by announcing he is clinically in remission, although his treatments continue to ensure the leukemia does not return.
"My bucket list is complete," said Logan. "It's something that I dreamed of from Day 1. This team up here is pretty special. I've had four that were better – by the number of people, and the predictions. I didn't know if I was jinxed. It's hard to win a freakin' national championship."
Logan didn't get to be with the team for the confetti cannon following the national title, so the team brought the national-championship confetti to him, throwing it on him as he held the national title trophy, to end the ceremony.