Chase named track athlete of the year for third straight season

Going into the final two races of her career, Ashton Chase had a word of advice from her parents.

At Indiana University’s Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex, Les and Jennie Chase told their daughter to leave her mark in Seymour High School history.

That day, June 1, Chase solidified herself as the top female long distance runner in school history.

She did the improbable: Breaking both the 1,600-meter run (5:19.22) and 3,200-meter run (11:30.09) school records in the same meet. The senior placed 12th in the mile and 16th for the 2-mile, wrapping up an illustrious running career.

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"With it being state and it being my last race, I wanted to give it everything I had," Chase said. "I’m pretty happy with how it ended."

For all of her accomplishments this season, Chase has been named The Tribune’s Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year for the third straight year.

Before taking to the basketball court in the winter, Chase showed she had the potential to have a big spring ahead of her on the track.

In the cross-country season, she became the first SHS girls runner to advance to the state finals all four years of her career. It was at Brown County’s Eagle Park where Chase turned the most heads, as she won the regional crown in Nashville.

Fast forward to the spring, and Chase had a solid regular season before the Hoosier Hills Conference meet. There, she won her third HHC title in the 1,600 and placed second for the 3,200.

At the sectional at Bulleit Stadium, Chase dominated the day. She won the 1,600 and 3,200, becoming the first female athlete to win both events all four years in a career at SHS. She also was a member of the 4×800 relay team that won a sectional title.

In the mile, Chase won by 33 seconds and was seven-tenths off of the school record. It was in that race that Owls head coach Spencer Sunbury saw a switch flip in Chase.

"She impressed me at a whole other level when she ran a 5:07 at sectional," he said. "I knew she would be close, but I wasn’t convinced she would get the school record. She did that all on her own. I was stressing the regional at the time. When she finished the mile at the sectional, that was the first time I had seen her fall to the ground in exhaustion. That is one thing we had talked about for four years. There has always been more in there."

Chase followed up the sectional by finishing runner-up in both of her races at the Bloomington North Regional. While she had a solid day, Chase wasn’t able to crack the record books.

A few days later, she came up in the clutch at IU.

The state meet was the first time she qualified for the 3,200 and third time for the 1,600. In her junior season, Chase was a member of the 4×800 relay team that set the school record at the state meet.

"The crazy thing is that even at the state meet, you could see there is still a lot more in there," Sunbury said. "Once she gets that middle part of her race, she’s going to go to a whole other level in running. It will be exciting to see her break through there. To set both those records at the state meet in those two events said a lot about her."

Now, Chase’s attention turns to her career at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She currently is grinding through summer workouts in preparation for her freshman year at IUPUI.

"I’ve been working hard on that," Chase said. "I have been running in the mornings because of work. I’m trying to get it going. It’s a challenge, but I love it."

Sunbury said it has been special for him to coach Chase in cross-country and track the past four years.

"I remember first hearing about her when she was little about how she was a great basketball player, but running wasn’t a thing," he said. "I had heard about how competitive she was. Fortunately, Jennifer Hildreth convinced her to be a runner in junior high. She found that spark, and it is just awesome. She is a self-motivator. When she is confident and willing to put herself out there, amazing things happen."

Chase said she’s thankful for her running career at SHS.

"Track and cross-country have meant a lot to me over the past four years," she said. "I’ve been with my teammates through it all. My coaches have pushed me, and I’ve had great support from my family and friends. It has been amazing, and I hope that a lot of younger runners look up to me as a role model."

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Ashton Chase, Seymour, senior

Achievements (season): Hoosier Hills Conference champion 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs; sectional champion 1,600, 3,200 and 4×800 relay; regional second 1,600 and 3,200; state 1,600 (12th) and 3,200 (16th) and school records 1,600 (5:05.65) and 3,200 (11:18.96)

Other achievements (career): 1,600 state qualifier (three times); 4×800 relay state qualifier (2018); HHC champion 1,600 (three times), 3,200 (two times) and 4×800 relay (2018); sectional champion 1,600 (four times), 3,200 (four times) and 4×800 relay (2018)

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Joining Ashton Chase on the 2019 All-Jackson County Girls Track and Field Team

Brooklyn Snodgrass, Brownstown Central, senior

Achievements: 100-meter dash state qualifier (four times); Mid-Southern Conference champion (100 and 4×100 relay); MSC honorable mention (pole vault); 23rd at state (100); academic all-state

Ashley Schroer, Brownstown Central, junior

Achievements: All-MSC (shot put); sectional second shot put and second discus; regional fifth shot put and eighth discus

Kaelyn Johnson, Brownstown Central, senior

Achievements: All-MSC honorable mention (3,200-meter run); sectional third 3,200; regional 13th 3,200. 

Kaylyn Holman, Crothersville, freshman

Achievements: Southern Athletic Conference champion (800-meter run, 1,600-meter run, 3,200-meter run and 4×800 relay); sectional champion (800); regional sixth 1,600 and 13th 800; school records 800 (2:23.71) and 1,600 (5:23)

Lara Skaggs, Seymour, sophomore

Achievements: HHC fourth high jump and fourth pole vault; sectional second 100-meter hurdles, fourth high jump, fourth pole vault and third long jump; regional 14th 100 hurdles and sixth long jump

Avery DeHart, Seymour, senior

Achievements: HHC third pole vault and sixth high jump; sectional second pole vault and fourht 100 hurdles; regional eighth pole vault

Kaleigh Maschino, Seymour, sophomore

Achievements: HHC ninth 100; sectional fourth 100 and third 4×100 relay; regional 14th 100 and 11th 4×100 relay

Makenna Sunbury, Seymour, junior

Achievements: HHC third 3,200 and third 4×800 relay; sectional seocnd 3,200 and first 4×800 relay; regional fifth 3,200 and sixth 4×800 relay

Sydney Jaynes, Trinity Lutheran, sophomore

Achievement: School record discus (100-10)