June 30, 2016

Partly sunny

College signings: Track stars Sussman, Tipton head to Ashland University

WADSWORTH — As the first two legs on Wadsworth’s Division I state champion 4×800-meter relay team, Jacob Sussman and Aaron Tipton had a lot of success on the track.

So when it came to making a college decision, it was easy when Ashland University wanted both to run at the D-II school.

Sussman and Tipton selected the Eagles for various reasons, but both are happy they will get to push each other at the next level.

“We help each other out,” Sussman said. “I think we will both continue to improve if we keep helping each other.”





While Sussman and Tipton will find it hard to repeat the memories of this past season, when they joined Russ McCune and Jake Hiltner in winning the state crown and breaking the meet record, they have common goals for their collegiate careers.

More than a sport

For Sussman, running has always been a lot more than a recreational activity.

After looking at schools from D-I Akron to D-III Heidelberg, the 5-foot-9, 130-pounder was looking for a program that would force him to do his best.

“Track is a big part of my life now and I was looking for a school where I could go and compete,” Sussman said. “But I didn’t want to be the best when I got there. I wanted to work to be the best, so I could get better.”

Sussman, who played soccer for the Grizzlies last fall, reached the school through BeRecruited.com and former Ashland cross country coach Nick Cordes contacted the 18-year-old shortly after.

Cordes watched Sussman — and Tipton — run at the North Canton District, where they clocked a blazing 7:42.95 to break the meet record.
The proximity of Ashland and Tipton already going made the decision easy.

“Ashland really stood out to me because it was close to home, they have a great track team, some of my close friends are going there and they have a good athletic training program,” said Sussman, who is expected to run the 800 and 1,500 on the track while also competing in cross country.

“It won’t be a full athletic scholarship. It actually will be mostly academic. … It pays to get good grades.”

Along with giving the 4×8 team the start it needed en route to the state title in 7:39.72, Sussman also paced the 4×4 team to a third-place finish and finished seventh in the mile in a personal-best 4:20.13 in Columbus.

What a difference

Tipton knew he had a chance to be a college athlete coming into his senior season, but he always assumed it would be as a swimmer.

But after helping the 4×8 team break record after record, his thoughts changed.

“Ashland first contacted me about swimming there last year and I went down for a visit and really liked the school,” Tipton said. “My senior year at the beginning of track season, the old distance coach talked to me about running. Seeing how awesome my track season went, I decided to run.”

The 6-foot, 170-pound Tipton took his running skills to another level this past spring. It was evident in his 1:57 split as the second leg of the 4×8 team’s win at state.

He will join an Eagles program that is coming off of its third consecutive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship and a sixth-place showing at the D-II national meet.

“(Ashland) trains some of the best 400-meter runners in D-II and the track program overall is very good,” said Tipton, who will also run cross country. “The new distance coach (Trent Mack) seems great and they said I would be running the 400 and 800.

“I’m really excited to be able to continue running in college.”

In his prep career, the 18-year-old was a three-time state qualifier and earned four letters in track and three in cross country.

Tipton, who was also considering Xavier, Ohio State and Edinboro, intends on majoring in biology and math.

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.