With one throw remaining, Missouri Southern junior Morgan Ash sat in fourth place in the women's javelin at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships last weekend in Kingsville, Texas.
"I knew that the people ahead of me, they were really good," Ash said. "The one sitting in first was 50 meters. The last throw, I knew it was a good throw but I was nervous maybe it wasn't 50 meters. I didn't know if it was enough to make it, but once they said 51 meters, I was feeling confident nobody would beat me.
"There were two or three people still left to throw. There was a little bit of doubt maybe with the one who had already thrown 50, but I was confident that (51 meters) would win, and Coach (Brian) Allen was pretty confident, too."
"It was exciting," said Allen, the Lions' throws coach. "Emotions were running high, and she pulls the trigger on the last one. ... I went pretty nuts, had a big roar. It was a fun time."
None of the remaining throws came close to Ash's distance, and she won the national championship with a mark of 51.41 meters or 168 feet, 8 inches.
"I think I said to myself (before the last throw), it would be nice to win first place for once," she said. "Since I took second at state in high school (at White City, Kansas, a Class 1A school) and second at conference, I would not be happy with the results if I don't come out first. Being ranked first (nationally), I should come out with first place. Coach definitely instilled some confidence into me. I did what I knew, and everything kind of fell into place. ... I'll always remember that feeling."
"I was saying things throughout her whole competition," Allen said. "I told her to believe in herself and believe that her next throw was going to be a big one. I think she finally believed it, and it went."
Allen said work ethic is the biggest improvement in Ash since she arrived on campus from Hutchinson Community College two years ago. She was redshirted last season with a torn ACL.
"She's really come along, really bought into the system," he said. "I really saw her potential, and she hit the ground running, working harder every day, trying to fine-tune her technique. Her confidence level has come along way as well.
"She came out of Hutch where she threw in the upper 130s," Allen said. "I always knew that she was going to be pretty good if she got some strength and a little more confidence and athleticism. I definitely saw the potential when I saw her throw the first time."
Ash has added about 30 feet to her throws since coming to Missouri Southern.
"Getting stronger, and specific training that Coach Allen has for javelin throwers," Ash explained. "We don't throw every day because it's very tough on your body, especially on elbows. We do other drills to help with our technique."
Strong competition for Ash wasn't limited to the meets. She battled teammate Elizabeth Pomatto for the school record throughout the season.
Pomatto threw 166-1 at Emporia State in the Lions' first outdoor meet of the season to shatter the school record of 151-3.75 set by Jill Weeks at the MIAA Championships in 2008.
That mark stood until Ash hit 168-9 at Pittsburg State in April the week before the conference meet.
Pomatto, Katelyn Mooney and Alexis Kuehl also qualified for the national meet. Mooney, a freshman from Lamar, placed seventh at 153-0. Pomatto, and Kuehl, both freshmen from Paola, Kansas, were ninth and 16th respectively.
"They push me. I push them," Ash said. "For all of them to go to nationals as freshmen, they will be pretty good in a couple of years."
A strong group of sprinters led Lincoln to the women's team championship with 64 points, 10 more than Adams State. The Blue Tigers picked up 41 points in the 100, 200 and 400 meters and won both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.
Missouri Southern was sixth with 41 points, the highest finish in program history, and Pittsburg State was eighth with 27.
In addition to Ash, MIAA athletes won five more events — Pittsburg State's Courtney Nelson (100-meter hurdles) and Haven Lander (pole vault) and Lincoln's Rene Medley (100, 200) and Kissi-Ann Brown (400).
The javelin had another All-American with local ties as Washburn's Shelby Edwards, a sophomore who prepped at Riverton, finished third at 162-9.
Lincoln also topped the MIAA in the men's meet with 24 points, tying for seventh place. Pittsburg State took 13th with 20.
Brett Meyer of Fort Hays State won the 1500 meters (3 minutes, 58.24 seconds) and was the MIAA's lone men's national champion.
NCAA Division II Championships
At Kingsville, Texas
Lincoln 64, Adams State 54, Grand Valley State 47.5, West Texas A&M 47, San Francisco State 42
6, Missouri Southern 41; 8, Pittsburg State 27; tie 13, Lindenwood 18; 28, Washburn 9; tie 34, Southwest Baptist 6; tie 46, Northwest Missouri 4
Winners, MIAA All-Americans
100—1, Rene Medley, Lincoln, 11.20. 4, Ariel Jackson, Lindenwood, 11.45.
200—1, Medley, Lincoln, 23.30. 2, Jackson, Lindenwood, 23.41. 8, Christine Moss, Lincoln, 25.02.
400—1, Kissi-Ann Brown, Lincoln, 53.62. 2, Renea Ambersley, Lincoln, 54.60. 7, Moss, Lincoln, 57.64.
800—1, Skylyn Webb, Colo.-Colorado Springs, 2:06.96.
1500—1, Stephanie Cotter, Adams St., 4:36.91.
5000—1, Caroline Kurgat, Alaska Anchorage, 17:10.10.
10,000—1, Kurgat, Alaska Anchorage, 36:34.31.
100 hurdles—1, Courtney Nelson, PSU, 13.06. 4, Erin Hodge, Lindenwood, 13.47. 8, Morgan Smith, MSSU, 13.98.
400 hurdles—1, CeCe Telfer, Franklin Pierce, 57.53. 5, Jordan Hammond, NW Missouri, 1:01.24. 6, Brown, Lincoln, 1:01.35.
3000 steeplechase—1, Alicja Konieczek, West Colorado, 10:23.69.
4x100 relay—1, Lincoln (Shaian Vandenburg, Medley, Ambersley, Moss), 45.33. 3, Pittsburg State (Nia Lunn, Christine Williams, Danyel Newsome, Nelson), 45.95.
4x400 relay—1, Lincoln (Dylann Core, Ambersley, Brown, Medley), 3:37.03.
High jump—1, Marisa Gwinner, Tiffin, 5-8.
Pole vault—1, Haven Lander, PSU, 14-0.50. 2, Emily Presley, MSSU, 13-0.75. 6, Allexis Menghini, Washburn, 12-8.75.
Long jump—1, Fatim Affessi, West Texas A&M, 20-7.25. 4, Tamia Rayford, SBU, 20-0.50. 7, Claire Luallen, MSSU, 19-10.25. 8, Meleah Ridenour, SBU, 19-9.75.
Triple jump—1, Annie Topal, New Mexico Highlands, 42-8.75.
Shot put—1, Lindsay Baker, Ashland, 54-1.25. 2, Desirea Buerge, MSSU, 53-9. 4, Payton Roberts, MSSU, 52-8.25. 8, Jena Black, PSU, 49-9.
Discus—1, Daisy Osakue, Angelo State, 197-8. 4, Buerge, MSSU, 175-1.
Hammer throw—1, Racheal Somoye, Texas A&M-Kingsville, 188-10.
Javelin—1, Morgan Ash, MSSU, 168-8. 3, Shelby Edwards, Washburn, 162-9. 7, Katelyn Mooney, MSSU, 153-0.
Heptathlon—1, Lauren Huebner, Saginaw Valley, 5364.
Ashland 54, Angelo State 53. St. Augustine's 38, Grand Valley State 35, Tiffin 34.5
tie 7, Lincoln 24; 13, Pittsburg State 20; tie 19, Fort Hays State 15; tie 24, Missouri Southern 12; 31, Central Missouri 8.5; tie 32, Northwest Missouri 8; 42, Nebraska-Kearney 5.5; tie 43, Emporia State 5
Winners, MIAA All-Americans
100—1, Jonte Baker, Tiffin, 10.17. 6, Javan Gray, Lincoln, 10.48.
200—1, Mobolade Ajomale, Academy of Art, 20.80.
400—1, Myles Pringle, Ashland, 45.61. 7, Luke Stenzel, ESU, 47.59.
800—1, Thomas Staines, Colorado St.-Pueblo, 1:50.03.
1500—1, Brett Meyer, Fort Hays St., 3:58.24.
5000—1, Zach Panning, Grand Valley St., 14:10.58.
10,000—1, Panning, Grand Valley St., 30:12.30.
110 hurdles—1, Myles Hunter, Minnesota State, 13.54.
400 hurdles—1, Trevor Bassitt, Ashland, 51.39.
3000 steeplechase—1, Leakey Kipkosgei, American International, 8:52.86.
4x100 relay—1, Tiffin, 40.58.
4x400 relay—1, St. Augustine's, 3:05.77. 4, Lincoln (Tyrese Halls, Mohammed Kouyate, Coy Spence, Raymone Campbell), 3:09.57. 6, Emporia State (Brandon Rhone, Hayden Goodpaster, Parker Evans, Stenzel), 3:10.47.
High jump—1, Ethan Harris, Colorado Mesa, 7-2.50. 2, Kevin Schultz, NW Missouri, 7-2.50. 6, Montrez Jackson, Neb.-Kearney, 6-11.
Pole vault—1, Tommy Ansiel, Cedarville, 17-7.25. 2, Vincent Hobbie, Cent. Missouri, 17-3.50. 3, Kai Miller, PSU, 16-11.50. 4, Ryan Stanley, Fort Hays St., 16-11.50. tie 6, Grant Myers, Neb.-Kearney, 16-7.50. tie 8, Jan Jansky, Cent. Missouri, 16-3.50.
Long jump—1, Abraham Seaneke, West Texas A&M, 26-9.25. 3, Ryan Brown, Lincoln, 26-1.50. 5, Kizan David, Lincoln, 25-6.75. 8, Josh Norville, MSSU, 25-3.50.
Triple jump—1, Cervantes Jackson, Albany St., 54-7.50. 3, David, Lincoln, 51-11.25.
Shot put—1, Eldred Henry, Findlay, 70-5.25. 5, Rajindra Campbell, MSSU, 60-5.75. 7, Konner Swenson, PSU, 60-0.50.
Discus—1, Joseph Brown, Texas A&M-Commerce, 195-4.
Hammer throw—1, Decio Andrade, Angelo St., 222-0. 4, Travis Petersen, MSSU, 206-5. 6, Levi Wyrick, PSU, 201-5.
Javelin—1, Ricko Meckes, Queens (N.C.), 233-10. 4, Joshua Hudiburg, PSU, 217-6. 5, Jerod Toogood, PSU, 216-4. 7, Rajheim Carby, MSSU, 213-0.
Decathlon—1, Alexandros Spyridonidis, Angelo St., 7426.