After an unexpected weather-related bye week, Ashland University's women's and men's indoor track and field teams return to competition on Friday (Jan. 19) at 12:30 p.m. at the Youngstown State College Invitational.
The Eagles were scheduled to go last week to Findlay's Northwest Ohio Invitational/Border Battle before Mother Nature had other ideas. That not only forced the team to figure out what to do with dozens of box lunches (http://goashlandeagles.com/information/Community_Involvement), but also what to do with their Friday night.
"I don't think it put us behind at all," said Ashland head coach Jud Logan, "in fact, I was really happy with what we got done. We had a series of little intersquads and time trials, and there was so much competition and laughter in the fieldhouse that it was almost like we went away to a retreat for a team-building activity.
"We made the best out of a bad situation. We have plenty of room left on our schedule to do what we want to do."
Logan did say the most-affected group was the distance program, having not had many chances to compete since coming off cross country season.
"I'll be real interested to see what the distance crew looks like, especially in that 800/mile group," Logan said.
Of Ashland's automatic and provisional qualifiers for 2018 NCAA Division II nationals, March 9-10 at Pittsburg State, only two – Elijah Talk in the men's shot put (No. 5 in the country, 17.64 meters/57-feet-10½) and Marie Hammer in the women's pentathlon (No. 8, 3,468 points) – are seniors.
"We don't have a lot of seniors," Logan noted. "If there's anyone that can put it together in a 2-to-3-meet season, it's Elijah Talk. He's that one senior on the men's team. They (the seniors) are probably feeling that this is maybe the time of the season that they need to kind of flip the switch and move those performances.
"It only takes one."
Ashland's jumpers and vaulters group has the No. 1-ranked men's higher jumper in Division II in junior Myles Pringle (2.15 meters/7-feet-0½), a pair of seventh-ranked women's high jumpers in sophomores Ellie Jindra and Paula Wollenslegel (both 1.68 meters/5-feet-6), and the 14th-ranked women's pole vaulter in sophomore Amber Otermat (3.57 meters/11-feet-8½).
"Myles knocked his high jump out of the park early," Logan said of Pringle, who also would be going to nationals in the 400-meter dash and 4x400 relay if the season ended today. "He's a breed unto himself. The women's side's a little stronger. Ellie and Paula, right at that 5-6 mark. That's a bar away from getting in. You make that bar, you're in."