Perkins grad Steinhauser wins NCAA discus title

Norwalk grad Sparks part of Div. III NCAA relay title
Chris Graber
May 29, 2014
Perkins graduate Kyle Steinhauser had a long list of interest from NCAA Division I track and field programs during his senior year of high school.


   After suffering an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his right knee during his senior year of high school, NCAA Division II powerhouse Ashland University was the program that landed the 6-foot-6 prospect. Steinhauser signed with the Eagles as a discus thrower and followed by collecting two All-American awards, academic All-American accolades and three consecutive qualifications to the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships from 2012-14.


   From May 22-24, the senior concluded an illustrious throwing career by posting a personal-record mark of 189-feet-5 in the discus to claim a title in the event at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field championships, hosted by Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.


   “A lot of schools backed off him, because they thought of him as damaged goods,” Ashland University coach Jud Logan said. “We felt, through over scientific knowledge in weight training, we could rehab that knee, while others teams were not as hopeful once he got injured.


   “I am very happy with Kyle, his progress and what he has meant to this team. He’s a guy that shows up every day, doesn’t complain and is fantastic academically, starting on his Master’s degree”


   Prior to joining the Eagles, Steinhauser claimed three consecutive runner-up finishes in the discus at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II state championships. His final two seasons, he was denied a title by Eastwood graduate Justin Welch.


   At the national championships, Steinhauser avenged the past by issuing Welch a second-place finish.


   Welch, who transferred to University of Findlay after collecting All-American second team recognition in Division I for University of Georgia in 2012, produced a season-best mark of 188-0.75 in the effort.


   “A state championship is pretty cool, but I don’t know if there is anything better than a national championship” said Gary Lill, who alongside Jeremy Blakely, coached Steinhauser in throwing events at Perkins. “His hard work and determination paid off”


   Heading into the national championships, Steinhauser held the No. 7 seed with a mark of 176-10.


   Steinhauser “had a huge throw, a throw that would be competitive in any meet in the United States, regardless of division,” said Matthew Hoty, a 2010 Perkins graduate and All-American second team performer in Division I for University of Tennessee. “He is kind of a quiet guy that never lets people get in his head and always shows up in big moments”


   In the team standings, Ashland University placed third with 53 points, while St. Augustine’s University (Fla.) captured first with a score of 112.


   “None of this would have been possible without the coaches that I have had since seventh grade, preparing me to be the best possible thrower I can be,” Steinhauser said.


   As a member of the Eagles, he was able to be mentored by Logan, a four-time member of the USA Olympic Team (1984, 1988, 1992, 2000).


   Logan “is very experienced, knows what to expect, and prepares us technically and physically,” Steinhauser said.    “Ashland was the best fit for me” Steinhauser added.


   In the women’s team standings, the Eagles were led to a fifth-place finish by Port Clinton Graduate Macy Caldwell.


   Overall, Lincoln University (Mo.) clinched first with 64 points, while Ashland University finished fifth with a score of 38.


   In the competition, Caldwell collected All-American accolades after placing fourth in the heptathlon with a score of 5,118 points.


   The top eight finishers in each event garner All-American honors.


   Caldwell “stepped up as a senior after placing 10th in this meet a year ago,” Logan said. “She had a life-time best performance at the NCAA, on the big stage. She had a fantastic meet.


   “She’s a senior, like Kyle, that will be sorely missed in our program”


   Sparks on 4x400-meter title, leading Mount to title in Division III


   Norwalk graduate Tyler Sparks led the University of Mount Union to win the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships, hosted by Ohio Wesleyan University, by capturing a school record and stadium record time of 3 minutes, 9.81 seconds in a first-place finish with the 4x400-meter relay on May 24.


   “Everyone stepped up and performed where they needed to, from our throwers to our field events to our running events,” Sparks said. “Ironically it did come down to the 4-by-4.


   “We were prepared for it to come down to our 4-by-4. Coming in we knew we would give it everything that we had if it came down to that, so that’s why it is so special”


   Heading into relay, the Purple Raiders held a one point lead.


   For Ohio Wesleyan University, Clyde graduate Adam Turner finished ninth in the 400-meter dash (48.14 seconds) and 15th with the 4x400-meter relay (3:16.56).


   Hoty, Rowland heading to Div. I East preliminary championships


   At Jacksonville, Fla., Hoty and Bellevue graduate Matthew Rowland will compete in the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field East preliminary championships from May 29-31.


   In the competition, the Top 12 in each event will advance to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field championships.


   Hoty, a University of Tennessee junior, enters with the No. 19 seed in the shot put with a season-best mark of 61 feet, 10.5 inches.


   Rowland, a freshman pole vaulter for Akron University, heads into the competition with the No. 33 seed in the event with a season-best performance of 16-10.5.