Eagle watch party in Kate’s Gymnasium witnesses history

The Eagle faithful rallies behind the team to show support while on the road


Brynn Meisse

The Eagles’ national championship trophy rests with the banner behind it.

Alaina Kathrein, Reporter

On Saturday, April 1, Ashland University’s athletic department held a national championship watch party in Kate’s gymnasium.

The Eagle pride was through the roof as the “Purple Swarm” packed the gym to cheer on the Eagles who were halfway across the country in Dallas.

The Eagles were able to take down Minnesota Duluth to win the 2023 NCAA Division Ⅱ National Championship, and the fans who attended the watch party were sent home with smiles on their faces.

“I love the play of the girls and how the whole community came together to support the team,” said Ashland local fan Stacey Wolfe. 

Throughout the Eagles’ 37-0 undefeated season, the Eagle faithful has helped support the team every step of the way. Alongside the usual fans, many of the other student-athletes from the University attended the watch party.

“I came to watch today to come and show support for our fellow athletes and I have friends that are on the team,” said women’s lacrosse defender Alexis Montalvo. “I love watching their high charisma and how they all work well together and that they are representing Ashland all the way in Texas. Outside of the game, I love that they are all very nice and welcoming.”

With so many student-athletes coming to support, many Eagle coaches came to attend as well.

“As a fellow coach, I love the grit that coach Pickens has and I love her morals of faith, family, and academic and I try to instill that in my girls as well,” said women’s golf Head Coach Bill Pollock.

One consistent opinion that was spread by fans and University members alike was the amount of joy the team brings to those they cross. 

“I love the joy they play with and the relentlessness they play with,” said football Head Coach Doug Geiser. “That’s what I try to instill in my guys and I use them and coach Pickens to show them what we want as a team.”

He also praised the team chemistry and locker room dynamic that the team has put in place.

“I love their team chemistry as well as their hustle, and as a coach that’s what you strive for,” he said. “It’s great to have an example of being able to do it the right way and not sell your soul for it, they believe in the right things.”

As the fans left the gymnasium, happiness sprung out as the Eagles completed their program’s second 37-0 overall season and found their third national championship.