MAKING STATE-MENTS: Seymour senior, Crothersville freshman prep for final race of ’18


While two individuals will represent Jackson County at this weekend’s state cross-country meet, the runners have opposite storylines entering the competition.

Seymour High School senior Ashton Chase is making her final trek — her fourth straight — to the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, while Crothersville High School freshman Kaylyn Holman will compete with the best in Indiana for the first time.

Chase’s illustrious cross-country career will come to a close Saturday.

[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]

No matter the final time or placing, she already has established herself as one of the top runners in the program’s history.

When Chase hits the finish line, she will be the first female runner to compete in the state meet for all four years of a career at SHS.

“It’s a big accomplishment,” she said. “I have enjoyed going up there each year. I know how to run the course. The approach is a little different now that I don’t have a team. My goal is just me and the course ahead of me.”

Chase finished 42nd overall (19:04) her freshman season, 33rd (19:11) her sophomore year and 94th (19:27) last year.

Seymour coach Spencer Sunbury said the plan of attack is the same for Chase on the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) course.

“There is one way to run this course: It’s tangents and heads up,” he said. “If you’re not paying attention, it’s a tough course. It’s a big course with a lot of runners. If you get caught in a pack and let that pack dictate your pace, you’re done. You can lose touch of where you want to be, and it’s tough to get back. If you get out there, run your race and focus, you can have a good time. It’s not really a fast course, but you can have a fast time if you run it the right way.”

This past weekend, Chase finished fifth at the Brown County Semistate in 18:55.5. The week prior, she was the regional champion in 18:47.41. At sectional, she was second in 20:11.46.

Last weekend’s race marked the 16th time that Chase ran at Brown County.

It hasn’t been an easy year for her.

Going into the postseason, she wasn’t hitting the times that she wanted in the regular season.

At the regional, however, a switch flipped for Chase.

“This wasn’t an easy season. She had some struggles in there,” Sunbury said. “For her to come back and have that race at regional, that was all her. Her times at practice were there. We just weren’t seeing it in meets. She was still winning races and finishing at the top, but it wasn’t where she wanted to be.

“She was getting frustrated and had to work through it. She is a true example of, yes, she’s a gifted athlete, but she puts in as much or more effort than any other kind out there. She had to this year. She deserves every bit of it. She is going out in style her senior year. She truly earned that spot.”

Chase hadn’t broken 19 minutes since her sophomore season before the regional.

“In the second half of the season, we talked a lot about just trusting herself,” Sunbury said. “I think that she got to the point, at regional, she just didn’t want to continue going the way her races have been going. I can’t explain it. She changed something, and I think she got her emotions and head on straight that day. She had to prove it to herself. The first thing she said to me was that she knew she had it in her.”

Chase is a true four-year state runner.

While she advanced with a team her freshman and sophomore years, her times would have been good enough to get through as an individual.

Sunbury said he thinks Chase can run in the 18:50s or faster and hopes she finishes in the top 50.

Chase is looking forward to one last meet before taking on the basketball season.

“I don’t know how I am going to be like at the end — sad, happy or both,” Chase said. “I’m kind of sad right now, but I just want to have fun with it.”

Holman’s record-breaking freshman season will set another precedent Saturday.

Whatever time Holman finishes with will set the bar in Crothersville, as she’s the school’s first state qualifier.

At last weekend’s semistate in Brown County, Holman broke her own school record by clocking 19:14.9. That time placed her 15th overall.

Holman knew right away that she had a good shot at making it to state when she finished.

“When I crossed the finish line, I heard that I was in 15th place,” Holman said. “Marc (Bowman, assistant coach) said that if I finished top 20, I would probably make it to state. I was happy and smiling while walking out of the shoot.”

For Crothersville head coach Carl Bowman, it’s his first state-level runner in his 40 years of coaching.

“I’ve been (to semistate) quite a few times hoping. It seems like always something happened,” Bowman said. “We thought she had made it, but we wanted to wait and make sure until they said her name. When they said her name, I didn’t scream or anything like that. I was numb. It was 40 years in the making. I’ve been waiting to hear a Crothersville runner make it to state for a long time. It still hasn’t quite hit me yet. We are going to go up there and be represented there.”

After going undefeated individually in the regular season, which included winning the Southern Athletic Conference race, Holman won the sectional in Hanover with a time of 20:08. She went on to place fourth at the Brown County Regional in 19:31.9.

“Our first goal is to get under 19 (minutes),” Bowman said. “The second goal is to be in the top half. I hope there aren’t more than seven or eight freshman girls ahead of her. That would kind of set the pace for sophomore, junior and senior year.”

Holman said she’s a little nervous for the meet but looks forward to competing with the top runners in the state and meet new people.

“I’m really happy,” she said. “I’m not sure that I’m prepared for it yet. It’s going to be a big meet. I’m kind of worried, but I’m excited.”

Greencastle’s Emma Wilson won last year’s state meet in 17:45.9. She’s the favorite coming into the meet with a time of 17:31 from the Shelbyville Semistate. A total of 208 girls will run in the state finals race.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”If you go” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

What: Cross-country state championship

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute

Who: Seymour’s Ashton Chase and Crothersville’s Kaylyn Holman will be among the competitors

Admission: $10


No posts to display