MARION, Ind. - A long, grueling season comes to an end this week.
Members of the Ashford University track and field team are in final preparations for the 2012 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships being held on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University beginning Thursday and continuing through Saturday, May 24-26.
The Saints have sent representatives in ten men's events, the most in school history and largest representation from any Midwest Collegiate Conference team this season, and three women's events which kicks off on Thursday when senior Justin Ludwikowski competes in the first five events of the decathlon at 9 a.m. eastern time.
The Roland, Iowa-native enters as the 14th seeded student-athlete of the 16 competing.
The AU men's 4x100-meter relay teams take the track for the trials of the event at 1 p.m. eastern before junior Christian Awah battles the best in the nation in the 110-meter hurdle trials at 2:40 p.m. eastern time. Awah enters the event as the 16th ranked racer in the nation.
Closing out the opening day of the Championships is freshmen Justin Kilpatrick and Jeremy Miller when they battle in the trials of the 100-meter dash (3:50 p.m. eastern time) and 400-meter hurdles (5:35 p.m. eastern time), respectively. Kilpatrick enters with the 17th best time in the event this season while Miller boasts the 20th best in the nation.
Ludwikowski leads off Friday as well for AU when he closes the book on the decathlon at 9:30 a.m. eastern time. Three field events including the discus throw, pole vault and javelin are on tap for Friday while the 110-meter hurdles and 1,500-meter run cap off the event.
The men's 110-meter hurdle semifinals are scheduled for 1:00 p.m. before junior Aleksander Jakobsen takes a crack at the 5,000-meter racewalk set to begin at 2:05 p.m. eastern. Jakobsen, a Rock Island, Ill.-native carries the tenth-best time walked this season into the event.
At 2:50 p.m., the men's 100-meter dash semifinals are scheduled to run before Chicago, Ill.-racer Myelle Vann takes off in the women's 400-meter dash at 3:00 p.m. Those races are then followed up by the men's & women's 4x100-meter semifinals at 3:50 p.m.
The men's 110-meter hurdle final is set for 4:40 p.m. eastern time before the running of the men's 100-meter dash and 400-meter hurdle semifinal races go off at 5 p.m. and 5:35 p.m., respectively.
Junior Austin Smith visits the men's high jump pit at 6 p.m. while the first attempt of the women's 4x400-meter relay races at 8:15 p.m. to close out the day.
On Saturday, a pair of AU distance specialist, Brian Meyer and Doug Powers, compete in the men's marathon at 6 a.m. around the town of Marian before a duo of field events open the remainder of the Championships.
Men's pole vault, headed by AU's Mike Malone, kicks off at 1 p.m. before Rockford, Ill.'s Emmanuel Panchol hits the runway at the triple jump at 1:30 p.m.
The finals of the 4x100-meter relay races are set for 2:40 p.m. eastern time prior to the men's 400-meter hurdles beginning at 4:00 p.m. The women's 400-meter dash and women's 4x400-meter relay close out the day when the gun sounds at 4:10 p.m. and 5:55 p.m., respectively.
You can follow all of the action from IWU by locking in to Ashford University Athletics Official Twitter account, @AUSaints, and as always, recaps of each day can be found at AshfordAthletics.com.