By MICHAEL LETENDRE
Ashley Elder, a senior at Southern New Hampshire University, has been a very successful member of the women’s track and field program over the years and the former Bristol Central standout has piled up even more records and awards over the winter months.
Elder ended up representing SNHU at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships from the Robert W. Plaster Center in Pittsburg, Kansas at the beginning of March.
But the shotput chucker had a very busy winter season before the NCAA event.
She was named the Northeast-10 Conference Women’s Field Athlete of the Week on Tuesday, January 22.
Elder has been a star for the team based out of Manchester and Hooksett, New Hampshire and roped up her fifth consecutive shot put win at the Smith Pioneer Invitational on Saturday, January 19 in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Her throw of 48 feet, 8 inches (14.83 meters) was a personal best and, along those lines, a new program record at SNHU – a standard she’d break later in the campaign.
Also that day, Elder added a fourth place finish in the weight throw with a toss of 50 feet, 1.75 inches (15.28 meters).
That completion also established a new record for both Elder and the Penmen program.
To begin the 2019 portion of the season, Elder turned in another excellent performance, winning the shot put and finishing third in the weight throw as the Penmen competed at the Spartan Invitational on January 11 from the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on Staten Island, New York.
Elder made a throw of 44 feet, 8.25 inches (13.62 meters) on her final attempt to take the shot put event.
She also placed third in the weight throw with a chuck of 50 feet, 1.25 inches (15.27 meters).
On Jan. 25, at the Boston University John Thomas Terrier Classic from the BU Track and Tennis Center, Elder competed in the shot put – turning in an eighth-place throw of 43 feet, 4.5 inches (13.22 meters).
One day later, at the University of Southern Maine, Elder picked up wins in both the shotput and weight throw as the SNHU women’s program wrapped up in a fourth-place finish.
Elder chucked the winning throw of 46 feet, 8 inches (14.22 meters) in the shot put event.
The victory was her fifth in the shot put since the indoor season started on December.
And on Feb. 8, Elder finished seventh in the shot put at the New England Indoor Track & Field Championships from the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury, Mass., just outside of Boston.
She had a throw of 44 feet, 11.75 inches (13.71 meters) to place just outside the top-six of the event.
And at the Women’s Northeast-10 Indoor Track and Field Championships from Smith College in Northampton, Mass. on Feb. 16-17, Elder was at it again.
She once again established a new program record in the shot put as her toss of 49 feet, 7.75 inches (15.13 meters) was the winning mark of the championships.
Elder eventually qualified for the NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships at the Plaster Center from Pittsburg, Kansas over March 8-9. She qualified for the shot put event.
In fact, Elder became the first SNHU Indoor Track and Field team member to participate in the NCAA Championships, finishing in 13th place.
Her best toss was 48 feet, 7.5 feet (14.82 meters), coming on her third attempt of the day.
She had qualified for the shot put event with the 10th best throw in the nation during the indoor season. That ranking was according to the seeding chart released by the NCAA.
Nearly 540 athletes, 270 men and 270 women, competed in the events over two days.