Ashland University's men's and women's outdoor track and field teams are going to be home for a long time coming up soon.
The Eagle men and women, however, aren't going too far away from campus for their final meets prior to the Ashland Alumni Open (April 27-28) and the 2018 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships (May 2-4), both at the Dwight Schar Athletic Complex. AU will go to both the Jesse Owens Classic at Ohio State University on Friday (April 20) and Saturday (April 21), and the Sparky Adams Invitational at Baldwin Wallace on Saturday.
"The goal after this weekend is to have the 4x1 and the 4x4 (relays) safely nestled in there in (NCAA) qualifying," said Ashland head coach Jud Logan. "We know we can be better once we get a little better weather and peak our program for nationals, but you've got to be there first. That's the focus this weekend.
"Most of our main operatives are going to be at Jesse Owens, and the kids that are just trying to improve to get ready for GLIACs and the Alumni Meet are going to Baldwin Wallace."
Ashland's men have nine marks, and the Ashland women have four, which would qualify for 2018 NCAA Division II nationals, May 24-26 in Charlotte, N.C. The Eagle men are ranked No. 12 in the country heading into the weekend.
"We'd love to finish this weekend inside the top 10," Logan said.
This OSU-BW weekend, the Alumni Open and the GLIACs are the last official chances for those not on a nationals list, or those on the bubble of being in the top 16 in the country in an event, to improve their standing.
"A lot of the programs that we've done have had kids ready to peak for conference and NCAA's," Logan said. "There's usually that three-week buildup…where we get usually 75 percent of our qualifiers. And we've got the last-chance meets. We've got another week to go chase marks.
"It would be nice to get a couple of movers, no doubt."
Eagles on provisional lists who are looking to get into the top 16 in their respective events are senior Hannah Bartlome and sophomore Ellie Jindra in the women's high jump (both No. 23), redshirt freshman Gianna DiPippo in the women's shot put (No. 27), sophomore Arthur Greenlee IV in the men's 110-meter hurdles (No. 17), junior Jacob Glass (No. 24) and freshman David Amstutz (No. 31) in the men's shot put, junior Jim Toth in the men's discus (No. 28), and juniors Toth (No. 34) and Brandon Sicurella (No. 32) in the men's hammer throw.
No matter what happens this weekend, Ashland's men and women get to compete in back-to-back home meets for the first time since the last time the Eagles hosted GLIACs in the spring of 2013.
"If we could line up miraculously with the weather gods for those two weekends, I think the kids will have an incredible experience," Logan said. "I think our kids will go out and fight through any elements given. I love that about our team."