On March 12, at the NCAA Division II indoor track and field championships in Albuquerque, N.M., Ashland University senior Kurt Roberts (Lancaster, Ohio/Athens) won this third national championship in the shot put.
Very few throwers in the country are as rock solid in a sport as Roberts. He won his first national title in the outdoor season in 2009 and has won the last two indoor track titles. A year ago, he established the meet record in the shot put with a throw of 64-11.5. On March 12, he led the field with a throw of 63-11.
That effort put some distance between Roberts and Grand Valley State’s Daniel Vanek, who was second. Vanek’s best throw measured 60-11.25.
Roberts was part of an Ashland University men’s team that finished second in the country. That’s the highest finish indoors for the men in school history. It comes on the heels of the women’s team finishing in a tie for second at last year’s indoor national championship meet.
On Saturday, the Ashland University men also received a bronze medal from junior Tom Scott (Lima, Ohio/Shawnee) in the 800. Scott ran the race in 1:52.34. Augustana’s Aduo Omot won the race in 1:51.20 and Metro State’s Shawn Lindbom was second in 1:51.44.
Ashland’s 4 X 4 relay team finished fourth in a school record time of 3:11.29. That quartet consisted of freshman Jacob Cook (Lima, Ohio/Allen East), freshman Keith Cleveland (Cleveland, Ohio/Shaker Heights), sophomore Cory Lamar (Wakeman, Ohio/Firelands) and junior Cyrus Granger (Coshocton, Ohio/Riverview). Johnson C. Smith won that race in 3:09.17 and St. Augustine’s was second ini 3:09.31. Indianapolis finished third in 3:10.99.
The Ashland University men got another All-America award from freshman D.J. Duke (Clarington, Ohio/Hannibal River) in the shot put. Duke was sixth. His best throw was 58-8.75.
Abilene Christian won the men's title, the school's first since 2005, with 45 points. Ashland was second with 42 points and Lincoln finished third with 41 points. Fourth place went to Central Missouri with 36.5 points and Emporia State was fifth with 32.5 points.
The Ashland University women were not able to duplicate their finish from a year ago. Senior Abby Kacsandi (Wooster, Ohio) was third in the pentathlon with 3782 points and seventh in the high jump. Her best mark in the high jump was 5-6. The senior was the defending champion in that event. In the pentathlon, the gold medal went to Lindsay Lettow of Central Missouri with 4064 points. Angelo State’s Chrystal Ruiz was second with 3981 points. Lisa Roth (Rittman, Ohio/Norwayne) accumulated 3600 points and earned All-America laurels by finishing sixth.
Senior Steph Tinney (Norwalk, Ohio/Western Reserve), who won a national title last year in the 400, just missed a top eight finish this year. She was ninth.
The Ashland University women were eighth in the final team standings with 21.5 points. Grand Valley State won the national championship with 83 points. Lincoln (51) was second and Adams State (37) was third. New Haven (32) claimed fourth place and Nebraska-Omaha (29) was fifth.
Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.