It's getting to be crunch time in the 2016 spring sports season, and Ashland University's spring teams continue to work toward making their marks in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, regionally and nationally.
The GLIAC softball regular season comes to an end this week, and the 2016 GLIAC women's golf champion will be crowned by the end of the weekend. There are three weeks to go in the conference baseball schedule, and the outdoor track and field season is heading toward its crescendo, as well.
SOFTBALL – The Eagles (22-16 overall, 12-5 GLIAC) enter the week in fourth place in the conference standings. The top eight teams go to the 2016 GLIAC Tournament, April 29-May 1 in Findlay, Ohio.
Ashland will play four road doubleheaders this week to finish the regular season – Tuesday (April 19) at Findlay, Friday (April 22) at Saginaw Valley State, Saturday (April 23) at Wayne State and Sunday (April 24) at Northwood. All four opponents either are nearly assured of making the league tourney, or are fighting to get in.
The Eagles boast the GLIAC's longest current winning streak at seven games. Since starting the season at 10-13, AU is 12-3 in its last 15 games.
WOMEN'S GOLF – Coming off a third-place finish at Walsh's two-day Cav Classic, Ashland will travel to the 2016 GLIAC Women's Golf Championship on Friday-Sunday at The Meadows at Grand Valley State.
Two things are working in AU's favor going into the weekend: 1) its team score of 303 on Day 2 in Canton was its lowest round of 2015-16, and 2) three Eagles are coming off tying their lowest rounds of the season – junior Kaitlin Neumann (73) and freshmen Morgan Eib (74) and Monica Torda (79).
The Eagles have placed fifth or better at the Championship every year since 2005, including a third-place showing in 2015, and five straight runner-up finishes from 2009-13.
BASEBALL – Ashland (21-12 overall, 12-2 GLIAC, 8-0 South Division) will look to extend its lead in both the GLIAC overall and South standings with six road games this week.
The Eagles will play a doubleheader on Wednesday at Lake Erie to complete their four-game set with the Storm, then travel to Canton for a four-game series with Walsh on Saturday and Sunday.
Ashland enters the week leading the league's overall standings by two games over Grand Valley State, and is three games in the loss column ahead of both Malone and Walsh in the South.
TRACK AND FIELD – The Eagle men and women are coming off a highly-successful weekend at the Northeast Ohio Quad in Akron, and now boast two automatic and 24 provisional efforts for the 2016 NCAA Division II outdoor nationals, May 26-28 in Bradenton, Fla.
Ashland is looking forward to the 2016 Ashland Alumni Open, April 29-30 at the Ferguson Field complex. But before that, the AU men and women will split up this weekend and go to both Jesse Owens Track & Field Classic in Columbus and the Sparky Adams Invitational in Berea on Friday and Saturday.
Three Eagles have earned provisional entry to nationals in three separate events each – senior Eric Thompkins (100-meter dash, 200 dash and 4x100 relay), senior Lauren Ellsworth (100 dash, 200 dash and 4x100 relay) and freshman Myles Pringle (400 dash, 4x100 relay and high jump).
For the composite Ashland University athletics schedule, go to http://www.goashlandeagles.com/composite.