Ashland University thrower Ryan Loughney won the first national title of his career on Friday at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M.
Friday was the opening day of the championships and Loughney left no doubt that he was ready for action. The junior finished first with a throw of 72-1.75. Second place went to Central Missouri’s Drew Frizzell (70-5.25). AU senior Mike Jeffery was third with a throw of 66-5.25. Ashland’s third All-America award in the event came from sophomore Garrett Grey, who was seventh. Grey’s best effort measured 65-0.50.
The Eagles got a silver medal in the women’s weight throw. Junior Kelly Ash, the defending national champ in the shot put, unleashed a throw of 63-8.25 to claim second place. The gold medal in the weight throw went to Christa Bergmann of Fort Hays State. She won with a throw of 63-10.5. AU senior Tara Cooper earned an All-America citation by finishing seventh. Her best mark was 61-2.25. Senior Katie Sopher was 11th with a throw of 57-7.50.
In the women’s long jump, senior Steph Abbott just missed out on All-America honors. Abbott finished ninth. Her best leap was 18-5. Eighth place went to Angella Graham of New Mexico Highlands. She earned that spot with a jump of 18-8.
The Ashland women’s distance medley relay finished eighth in 12:01.6. That quartert included senior Leah Allen, junior Cheryl Bourne, senior Steph Tinney and sophomore Stephanie Stoffel. Shippensburg won the gold medal with a time of 11:38.38.
Ashland has 22 student-athletes competing at these championships. A full day of action is scheduled for Saturday.