The Ashland Alumni Open begins every year with the men's and women's hammer throw.
Crayon won the men's elite hammer division with a top throw of 69.87 meters, putting him as the No. 6 men's hammer thrower in the history of NCAA Division II and No. 1 in D-II this season.
"It felt good," Crayon said. "To be honest, I thought I kind of missed it a little bit. It was cool. It was just cool to get out here and compete against teammates, friends, the alumni come back to view this, so it's great. I love being able to put on a show for them."
Crayon narrowly missed the 70-meter mark, and has two more shots at the milestone – the 2017 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships May 3-5 at Grand Valley State and the 2017 NCAA Division II Championships May 25-27 in Bradenton, Fla.
"Seventy meters is the goal," said Crayon. "I'm going after it. I want it."
Zak finished with a top effort of 61.76 meters, improving upon his previous provisional nationals mark by 3.13 meters.
"When it comes to things like this, the bigger the crowd, the more psyched up you get," Zak said of accomplishing the feat at home. "It feels so good to be able to have them (the seniors) as my second coach pretty much, and they help me along the path and get me in the right direction."
Said Ashland head coach Jud Logan, "We knew that he (Crayon) would be comfortable at home. What I loved about today was he did not warm up especially good. We had 90 hammer throwers here today, so we wanted to make sure that everything was fair for everyone, so everyone got two warmup throws.
"The gold star of the day, clearly, was Nick Zak. Jordan would be the first one to tell you that Nick Zak was the highlight of today. He's been training really well, we've all known how good he is. To come out today and get 60, and then get 61, that's not auto, but that's going to put him in the national meet."
Junior Daniel Roberts was second on Friday at 68.55 meters.
In the men's hammer throw section, sophomore Stephen Pop was second at 59.34 meters, an improved provisional distance.
Prior to Friday, Logan said the men's shot put may steal the spotlight from the hammer throw this year.
"The shot put's got a long way to go to catch up to this," Logan said, "but I just felt like we might come out a little flat after Jesse Owens, and boy, was I wrong. Any coach you ever talk to, you love to be proven wrong by your kids."
Late Friday night at the 51st Annual Hillsdale College "GINA" Relays, senior Zach Humrichouser earned a new provisional nationals mark in the 10,000-meter run, finishing in 30:59.82.
UP NEXT: Day 2 of the Ashland Alumni Open, Saturday (April 29) at 10 a.m.