Two weeks ago, Ashland sophomore Myles Pringle turned in the type of performance in the 400 meter dash that could allow him to peek way ahead to the NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships May 25-27 in Bradenton, Fla.
Pringle broke his own school record by winning the 400 at the Raleigh Relays in Raleigh, N.C. with a time of 45.99 on March 28. At the time, it was the fastest 400 in NCAA at any level.
The time automatically qualified him for the Division II national meet and earned him USTFCCCA NCAA Division II national track athlete of the week.
But the performance and accolades that came with it occurred two weeks ago and the national meet is eight weeks away. Pringle's focus is only on what he can do to get better as the season progresses.
“Yes, I automatically made it to nationals, but that is not going to stop me from training hard, pushing in practice and when it comes to the meet, trying to get a better time so that I can have a higher standing going into the national meet,” Pringle said.
“To me, it is not that big of a deal. Rankings and stats, I don’t run for that. I run to get better times and to stay fit and focused on the big picture in the long run.”
It is that mindset that has helped Pringle accomplish quite a bit so early in his collegiate career.
Pringle, who is from Cincinnati, picked Ashland because he really liked the family atmosphere when he visited with his mom during his senior year in high school. He admits when he was first contacted by Ashland, he wasn’t quite sure where the school was located.“I thought it was Ashland, Kentucky,” he said. “The one thing I wanted was a place where I could feel like home for the next four years. That is what Ashland gave me. That is what I felt when I came to Ashland.”
Ashland provided that plus a traditionally strong track program.
“He could have gone to a number of schools running a 47 in high school,” said Ashland track coach Jud Logan. “We were a good fit for him academically. Being a private school, every one of his classrooms has 18 to 20 students in it and the fact that every class he is in is taught by a professor.
“And our men’s program has been consistently in the top five in the country. It was a good fit.”
Pringle, though, missed part of the indoor season because of a hamstring injury. Still, Logan knew Pringle would perform at a high level in the outdoor season based on his workouts.
The accomplishment by Pringle at the national outdoor meet surprised him. He figured it would take a year or two to compete with the top runners in Division II. Pringle finished third in the 400 at nationals.
“It really boosted my confidence because I knew then I had the ability to become a really good 400 runner,” Pringle said.
With such a successful conclusion to his freshman season, Pringle trained hard in the summer to do even better his sophomore season.
“He took that performance and worked really hard this summer and his results have been showing all year,” Logan said. “A 45.99 at the Raleigh Relays two weeks ago and then last week in 42-degree weather, he ran 21.30 in the 200.”
Over the weekend, Pringle went to Arizona State for the Sun Angel Classic in Tempe, Ariz., and competed against Division I athletes in the 200. Pringle took sixth place with a time of 21.56.
The 200 is a new event for Pringle, who also high jumps and anchors the 4x100 and the 4x400.
“I really enjoy the 200 now,” Pringle said. “I didn’t think I would just because that is a faster race than I am used to doing.”
TF: Sophomore Myles Pringle is the National Track Athlete of the Week! He ran the 400 dash in 45.99 seconds, breaking the Ashland record! pic.twitter.com/7AWCGdsyxH— Ashland Athletics (@goashlandeagles) March 28, 2017
Success in the 200 means Pringle is helping the men’s track and field team do better in meets. The men’s track team finished second the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships and are currently ranked second in the outdoor ranking behind Chico State.
“It is still early in the rankings, but it is nice we are ranked the No. 2 team in the country,” Logan said. “We got a lot of performances that we can do better in. Any coach will tell you we want to be good the third week in May when it counts.
“We are a strong throws program. That is my background. I competed in four Olympic games in the hammer throw. Currently, our men’s hammer throwers are ranked one, two and three in the country. We are scoring a lot of points there. We have the No. 2 ranked shot putter in the country. We got two of the top 10 discus throwers in the country.”
Pringle likes the team aspect and wants to do his part to help score points for the Eagles. At the national indoor meet, he finished first in the 400 and third in the 200.
“It is very exciting because you know you are putting in the effort for your team in the events you are doing and you know your teammates are doing the same thing,” Pringle said.
“For nationals, every event that everybody does add up for the team so we are all putting in that effort to make sure we are getting the team points and make sure we are having fun.”
Logan definitely likes what Pringle brings to the track program that has produced stellar athletes through the years.
“We have had numerous kids go on to the Olympic Trials and the Olympic Games out of our program. We think he is the next person cut out of that same cloth,” Logan said.
Chico State men ranked No. 1
Senior Justin Woo is one example why Chico State men’s track and field team is so highly ranked.
On Saturday, at the Carnival and Twilight Invitational, Woo won the pole vault event with his personal best of 15 feet, 5.75 inches and later ran the anchor leg of the 4x400 relay team.
It takes that type of versatility to win a national meet in which every point counts.
No. 11 Angelo State finished ahead of No. 4 Texas A&M-Commerce
Angelo State men’s track team defended its home turf, taking first in the ASU David Noble Relays on Saturday. Angelo State women’s track and field team also took first.
“I can't say enough how proud of I am of this group,” Angelo State head track & field coach Tom Dibbern said on the school’s website. “They defended our home track and they competed hard. The amount of marks we got today was awesome. We are fit and ready to do some good things. We just have to do it when it matters.”
Senior sprinter Kenneth Turner had a nice meet, placing second in the 100 with a NCAA Division II automatic time of 10.25. It is the fastest time in Division II so far this season. He also placed second in the 200.