Chase-ing her dream: Seymour senior signs to NCAA Division I running program

Over the past two years, Seymour High School senior Ashton Chase had given serious consideration about where to run cross-country and track in college.

While many universities were in contact with Chase, all it was one phone call to make her decision concrete.

This past Wednesday, Chase signed a letter of intent to run at Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis.

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“It was a pretty easy decision,” Chase said. “Coming into November (an IUPUI coach) gave me a phone call, and it was a pretty easy yes for me. I know past runners that ran there, and I know the school pretty well. He talked to me individually and I just wanted to go there. It’s close to home.

“I’ve seen their cross-country course and their track. I know the trails pretty well. Each facility is right there. The fitness center is right there, and your classes are right there, so I love it being close together.”

IUPUI, located in downtown Indianapolis, is an NCAA Division I university that competes in the Horizon League.

Spencer Sunbury, head girls cross-country and track coach at SHS, said he feels Chase can have success at IUPUI.

“She will fit right in there,” Sunbury said. “They’re in for a treat because we haven’t seen her be able to put that time in year-round to focus (on running). I think once she does, she’s got another level in her. She doesn’t have the miles on her that a lot of girls coming out of high school have, which is going to benefit her.”

Chase excelled in both sports, and is Seymour’s first four-time state runner in cross-country. Her best mile time is 5:11, best two-mile is 11:19, and best cross-country race is 18:38.

“Her senior year in cross-country, she was able to get back to her old form, and had that success at regional and semi-state and state,” Sunbury said. “Coming into track season, this year is the strongest I’ve seen her coming into a season. I’m very excited to see what she does when she gets to the state meet this year.”

Chase ran in the state cross-country meet four straight years and has been a state-qualifier in track in the 1,600 and 3,200, and on the 3,200 relay team. She won the Brown County cross-country regional race last fall, and won track sectional in her two individual events last two years.

She expects to receive a workout program from the college in June or July

“I think training will be a lot different, so it will be like stepping it up more. I’m just ready to compete at a higher level,” Chase said.

Sunbury said that Chase has the mental fortitude to succeed at the next level.

“That’s one thing about Ashton, whether it was cross-country or basketball or whatever sport she was doing, she had a good mind for sports,” Sunbury said. “She has a good understanding of strategy, so any time we go to a course she does a great job. She’s a good student of her sport and she does a good job of realizing what she needs to do, understanding where she needs to do it.”

Chase said she enjoyed running different types of courses, with Brown County being her favorite course. She will run the mile, two-mile and a leg in the 4×800 relay this spring, and has been a conference champion in both individual events.

“I would say the mile is my favorite individual event. I think that is my strongest point,” she said. “I enjoy running that. I’m hoping to go back to state in the mile again. Spencer he can help me get there again for the third year.”

The coaches at IUPUI will get a coachable athlete, Sunbury said.

“It has to be a really bad day if she’s not going to put out 100 percent,” he said. “She’s a great kid, easy to coach explaining how I went her to run a race or how I want a practice ran. She does a great job of listening and putting that to work. She’s been a tremendous joy to work with. She makes it exciting to come out and coach.”

Chase also played basketball at SHS, and said she enjoyed being a three-sport athlete.