Ash Claims 110m Hurdles Title at the NCAA Track & Field Championships
June 13, 2009
Ronnie Ash Claims 110m Hurdles Title at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship Finals
Ash/Redhead Named All-Americans
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The final day of competition at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships arrived at John McDonnell Field as two Wildcats sought to take home national titles. After a week of ever-changing weather, the sun stayed out and the weather was outstanding for today's final. Joel Redhead opened competition for B-CU, finishing eighth in the 200m Dash, while Ronnie Ash took on Jason Richardson (South Carolina) and the 110m Hurdles, coming out victorious with another national hurdling title, to match his 60m Hurdles Indoor title from this year. Both athletes were named All-Americans as well. Today's entire meet was televised nationally on CBS (Brighthouse Networks Channel 6 & 1060 in HD).
Joel Redhead opened up the day for B-CU, competing in the finals of the 200m Dash, after slicing his time significantly in the semifinal. In today's race, he finished eighth in the NCAA in a time of 21.15, for his final competition as a Wildcat. Although Redhead did not climb to the top of the awards podium, he did make a strong showing, which earned him a very distinguished honor, as he was named to the USTFCCCA (U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) Outdoor All-American team.
Ronnie Ash stepped up to the challenge and maintained his focus through a much hyped competition between himself and Jason Richardson of South Carolina, in the 110m Hurdles. Ash won the 60m Hurdles Indoor title earlier this year and was looking to make a sweep of the NCAA short hurdling titles. Ash went beyond expectations, not only defeating Richardson, but also cutting a significant amount off his previous best times, and blowing out the competition. Ash finished in a career-best time of 13.27 seconds, ahead of Richardson at 13.49, to claim the national outdoor title.
"I knew Jason [Richardson] was going to come out hard," commented Ash following the race. "I think he may have slipped out of the blocks a little bit, and that was the only window I needed. It feels good to defend my indoor title against a field like this. I knew I had to bring my A-game, and I did."
Today's event was a very pressure-filled race, with high expectations from those who follow the sport, pitting the nation's top hurdlers in a head-to-head showdown with a title on the line. Ash also had an aspiration to sweep the short hurdling titles (as the 60m Hurdles Indoor champion) on his mind as well. "I tried not to second-guess myself about winning indoor and outdoor championships," said Ash of his focus for this meet, "but I doubled-up on them [titles] and got it done. That's why I'm truly excited; I can't even explain it."
Following the race, Ash found an overjoyed coach waiting for him, as B-CU Head Coach Garfield Ellenwood II showed his enthusiasm and could barely hold back his emotion. "Considering the fact that Ronnie is willing to listen to what I'm trying to teach him," Ellenwood said with a proud smile on his face, "you can't top having an athlete like that, who is willing to buy into everything you tell him to do. If you believe in what I'm trying to work out of you, you will have some success; in this case, it was a great success."
"Today has showed that people need to respect the MEAC as whole in Track & Field, considering how many athletes we had in the finals here," added Ellenwood, giving a nod to the four other conference schools with NCAA finals competitors.
In addition to his title sweep, Ash added another dubious honor to his career accolades, as he joined Redhead in being named a USTFCCCA All-American. This is his third time overall as a member of this distinguished group, and the second for outdoor Track & Field.
Ash is only a sophomore at Bethune-Cookman and is already among the national elite, leaving plenty of room for improvement among the world's best over the remainder of his career as a Wildcat of Bethune-Cookman Track & Field. With the completion of today's events, B-CU as a team came away with 23rd place nationally on the men's side, despite only coming with four events.
About Bethune Cookman University:
Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement. B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000. For more information, visit www.cookman.edu.