#EagleNation Spotlight – Super Sophs Ready For Year Two

#EagleNation Spotlight – Super Sophs Ready For Year Two


The first "Fab Five" was the University of Michigan men's basketball recruiting class of 1991, led by Chris Webber.

Ashland University head track and field coach Jud Logan dubbed his five women's freshman throwers with the same moniker last season while they were redshirting for this season.

As it turns out, Eagle track and field has two Fab Fives, and this quintet is the group of sophomore sprinters made up of Trevor Bassitt, T.J. Elliott, Channing Phillips, Brenden Archer and Kainnan Ramsey.

In 2018, Bassitt, Elliott and Phillips combined with Myles Pringle to win the NCAA Division II men's outdoor 4x400-meter relay national title – and became the first Eagle men's freshmen to win a national title in 24 years in the process.

"We were real nervous," Bassitt said of going into the 4x400 finals in Charlotte, N.C. "For me, I knew going in we had a really good chance of winning the 4x4. I had to wait for them to come around…and I look up, I just glance up into the stands, and I see Jud and Elijah Talk just punching in this fence, just screaming. I don't think I've ever gotten more nervous than seeing two of like the largest men on our team just going crazy. But I just got so excited."

"I still can't believe it, sometimes, that I won," Phillips said. "It's great to win, and it feels great to have an opportunity to do it again this year."

Elliott said, "Winning it as a freshman is a big thing. It's a thing of beauty. The ups are you're running with good people. The downs is you have to work, because if you don't work, you're going to lose your spot."

Between Bassitt, Elliott, Phillips and Archer, there were six D-II All-American honors earned last season.

"Getting to see my guys do what they did, it was hard at first," said Archer, who had an injury-plagued outdoor season in 2018. "Getting to see them do that, it was an amazing experience for me to get to watch. It gave me a different type of drive this season.

"I think that's what the coolest thing was. I get hurt, and it's not a senior that steps in, it's not a junior that steps in, it's not a sophomore, it's someone that's in my class, another freshman. T.J. did an amazing job."

Like Archer, Ramsey missed time as a freshman due to injury, and he is eager to show what he can do in a fully-healthy campaign.

"Just by everyone else's success, I want to build off of that, too," Ramsey said. "(I did) a lot of stretching, a lot of rehab, and just the willpower to want to do more and get the All-American, and do more for my team and try to be a leader, on and off the track."

Ashland associate head coach Ernie Clark, who's in charge of sprints and hurdles, assembled this impressive group of second-year runners.

"You always start with where their head is, and their goals are really high, which is extremely exciting," Clark said. "The biggest key is they have big goals, because then, they have something they want to work towards. When their goals start to exceed your own expectations and visions, that's when you know you have something special, and I'd say that's this whole group.

"I couldn't be more excited about them, and about the whole team, really."

Between Pringle, the five sophomores and freshmen like Jeavhon Jackson and Brayden Chaney, the competition to get on – and stay on – the 4x400 relay is intense.

Phillips said, "We have everything sitting right in front of us. We have weapons on weapons. Practice should be intense every day, every week. Coach will put the right people in there."

"Every year, it gets better and better," said Archer. "We have another class coming in right now…they're bought in. It's exciting, and it's going to be challenging to make all those relays."

Clark said, "You have to have those things to truly be great. So the fact that we have that, they'll push each other for those spots. It's going to make it a truly special team."

The quest for a D-II team national championship begins on Saturday (Dec. 1) at the Tiffin Alumni Open. Ashland's men have finished second in the nation indoors three times since 2011, and second in the country twice outdoors since 2013 – and the motivation for getting to the top, to a man, is there.

"We've talked a little bit about it," said Bassitt. "We genuinely believe, if everyone can be somewhat healthy going into the national meet, I think there's a very good chance we walk away with a national championship, indoor and outdoor."

Elliott said, "When we won a national championship last year in the 4x4, in my head, I said, 'Next year, we're winning it all as a team.'"

Added Ramsey, "We want more. We have the talent, the work ethic, the hard work – everything that you can have as a team, and we're looking to build off it and get that national championship now."