Seymour senior Ashton Chase competed in the final cross-country race of her high school career Saturday in the state finals at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.
Chase finished 93rd with a time of 19 minutes, 54.9 seconds for 5,000 meters (3.1 miles). She was hoping to run under 19:00, but with strong finishes at regional and semistate, she was excited to be competing in the state finals one last time.
“It’s been a roller-coaster ride,” Chase said. “After the first few races, I knew that I had to pick it up from there. I really kicked it in around regional time and semistate and got really good times there.”
Chase has established herself as one of the most decorated runners to come through the Owls’ cross-country program. She is the first girl in school history to run in the state finals for all four years. She ran with the team as a freshman and sophomore and then as an individual her last two years.
“She’s one of those kids that’s got a lot of talent and works hard at it,” Seymour girls coach Spencer Sunbury said. “She’s very coachable, and it has been so enjoyable working with her for four years. We are going to miss her because she was just a hard worker, and she’s a good team leader and leads by example.”
Crothersville freshman Kaylyn Holman also ran into the history books Saturday, being the first girls state qualifier in school history. Her time of 19:59.4 was good enough to crack the top 100, placing 99th.
Holman was glad that she enjoyed the experience of competing in a state championship.
“I was a little bit nervous because a lot of the girls are girls that have been here before,” Holman said. “Many freshmen don’t make it out here (as individuals), and when one does, you should be really excited because it is not something that everyone does.”
Holman already has achieved the feat of becoming a sectional champion three weeks ago in the Southwestern (Hanover) Sectional.
With her expected improvement over the next three years, she’s bound to win more championships along the way and maybe make more trips back to Terre Haute.
“Now, I have a feel for the course and know what I’ll need to work on,” Holman said.
It was bittersweet for Chase following the race, but she has enjoyed the memories she’s had in her storybook career with the program.
She has thought about running collegiately and likely will make a decision this winter. She’ll first prepare for the upcoming basketball season, which begins Saturday.
“It’s been amazing. I never really thought coming in as a freshman that I could do that,” Chase said. “I’ve seen a lot of great runners come through the years, and I wanted to be just like them. I followed in their footsteps and worked really hard to get here. I learned so much, and I’ve had such a great coach over the years. He cared more about me as a person than me running. I’ve met so many people, the friendships and great teammates. It’s a great family to be a part of.”