Motivation can be rather elementary.
For Ashland University head men's and women's track coach Jud Logan, his motivation method of choice this week has come from a children's book.
"We talked this week in our team meeting about, the theme of the meeting was, 'what would you do with a chance?' And the reason that came up is, this afternoon at 12:30, I'm going to Cornerstone Elementary, third grade, in Wooster, and I'm reading to the entire third grade over there," Logan said on Wednesday (Feb. 21) morning. "And the book that I'm reading is, 'What Would You Do With A Chance?'
"In our Monday team meeting, I practiced my presentation, and I read the book to the team. It's a book for third- and fourth-graders, but the message is, when that chance comes along, and you maybe aren't reaching for it because you're embarrassed that you might fail, or scared that the last time you reached for that chance, that chance evaded you. And so you don't reach as often. You don't have to be brave 24 hours a day, you need to be brave for your event."
The lesson in that book is for the Eagle men's (No. 5 in NCAA Division II) and women's indoor teams, who are competing in the 2018 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships, Saturday (Feb. 24) and Sunday (Feb. 25) at the Kelly Family Sports Center at Grand Valley State.
"We haven't talked a lot about team scores or anything like that," Logan said. "We always talk about competing with abundant vigor and passion. We're asking kids to take a leap of faith, and to take that chance."
Last year, both the Eagle men and women finished third as a team at the indoor conference meet. Neither team has finished lower than fourth at a GLIAC indoor meet, and the men have four GLIAC team titles, and the women one.
Some top contenders for post-meet conference awards include junior Myles Pringle (Men's High Point Athlete of the Meet), sophomore Alex Hill (Men's Field Athlete of the Year), and Brent Fairbanks and Gianna DiPippo (Men's and Women's Freshman Field Athlete of the Meet).
The conference meet serves a dual purpose – 1) to do well at that level, and 2) to continue to improve placement for 2018 indoor nationals, March 9-10 at Pittsburg State.
"We've got some autos. We've got some kids that are in the top 12 that we feel really good about," said Logan.
And then there are those "on the bubble," such as sophomore Jake Glass (No. 16 in the men's shot put) and junior Jim Toth (No. 15 in the men's weight throw); those on the outside looking in, like men's 60-meter hurdlers Trevor Bassitt (freshman, No. 21 in the country) and Arthur Greenlee IV (sophomore, No. 22 in the country); and freshman Kainnan Ramsey, who could climb into the mix in the 200 dash.
Away from campus, two Eagle track alums qualified for the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships, March 1-4 in Birmingham, Great Britain, based on their efforts on Sunday (Feb. 18) at the 2018 USATF Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M.
Drew Windle turned in a second-place finish in the men's 800-meter run, coming from last place with 200 meters to go to cross the tape in 1:46.29. The breakout star from the meet, however, was Katie Nageotte, who not only won the women's pole vault with a PR of 4.91 meters/16-feet-1¼, but who turned in the fourth-best indoor women's pole vault in world history.
"The most amazing thing about Katie's performance is, she went 8-for-8 on clean bars," Logan said. "Her first miss came at the world record. This meet for her, it is a deal-changer. She's going to be in such high demand in Europe this summer."