Ashland University's student-athletes will start Finals Week in a few short hours.
Prior to that, however, hundreds of Eagles had the chance to dress up and reflect on the 2018-19 athletic year at the fourth ASHPY awards on Sunday (April 28) night in the Upper Convocation Center.
"Every year from here on out, it's just going to get better and better," said AU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president Jay Slone. "We're going in the right direction, and I feel we've progressed every time and made it more interesting and added new things."
Track and field dominated the 2019 ASHPYs, picking up eight awards. As has been the case in the brief history of the awards, senior Myles Pringle was the big winner, taking home honors for Record-Breaking Performance and Male Athlete of the Year, while also being part of the men's track and field team's Most Spirit Team award.
Ashland head track and field coach Jud Logan took home Best Moment for winning his first team NCAA Division II national championship and Coach of the Year.
Best Championship Performance went to the men's indoor team for its national title, Play of the Year was garnered by freshman Brayden Chaney for his race-ending lean in the men's 4x400-meter relay team to clinch the national championship, and redshirt freshman Lindsay Baker is this year's Female Freshman of the Year.
Women's basketball earned three ASHPYs – junior guard/forward Jodi Johnson (Female Athlete of the Year), senior guard Maddie Dackin (Senior Leader) and the Team GPA Award.
Two ASHPYs went to the men's soccer team – sophomore goalkeeper Dimitrios Karousos (Best International Athlete) and the team for Game of the Year (down 2-1, winning 3-2 in overtime vs. Parkside in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament).
Redshirt freshman quarterback Austin Brenner is the Male Freshman of the Year, senior first baseman Kylie Asmus earned the individual GPA Award, the cheerleading and dance program earned the Community Service Award, Noah Cloonan is the Eagle of the Year, and Al Honaker is the Fan of the Year.
This year's Perseverance and Courage Award went to the family of Danny Krispinsky, the Eagle women's soccer head coach who passed away in January.
"I got to honor Danny," said Matti Krispinsky, Danny's wife. "I got to tell our story a little bit, and also encourage those others that are just facing some really hard times, what got us through and what is getting me through. Receiving that is such an honor, to be seen as courageous.
"I love being able to tell people where we got our courage from."
Prior to the start of the announcement of the awards, Nathaniel Forcell spoke about what the Make-A-Wish Foundation has done for him and his family. Forcell, who attends nearby Triway High School, will have his wish granted this summer.
"It's what it's all about, and it visualizes it for the students," Slone said. "When you're in college, you tend to get sidetracked, you're worried about yourself. Then you realize you're part of an organization that's something more than myself, kind of like a team.
"When you see it and you visualize what you're doing, it really makes it special."
The ASHPY awards are done by AU SAAC, and all moneys raised from the awards will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.