Monday, November 21, 2011

The Road to State: Ashley Lara

If there was any question to the toughness of Freshman Ashley Lara that was answered early at the second race of the season, the RLS Relays. Battling a Senior from Clovis over the final 200 meters elbows were flying in literally a fight to the finish. It what was one of the most exciting finishes to a race this season as Ashley established the kind of ferocity she was going to bring to every race.

“It was tough running up against a senior but I had my teammates cheering me on all the way,” Lara said of her race. “I might have thrown a couple of elbows but what could I do?”

Her toughness has never been questioned as the young runner has had some of the most gutsy performances this season and has stepped up and been a huge contributor to the Varsity team. After rolling her ankle before the Nike Pre-Nationals in Oregon she was devastated, “I was so upset that I cried all the way back to the hotel.” Lara said. “I acted like it was the end of the world but my teammates calmed me down. I remember curling my hair for our ‘homecoming dinner’ with my foot in a bucket of ice.”

It was a big moment for the Freshman and another example of her tenacity as a runner. Rather than sitting out the race she iced it that night, taped it up and lined up to race the next day. “It all worked out and my ankle eventually healed,” Lara said looking back at the race. For not being a hundred percent the freshman did outstanding running 21:21 for the 5k course.

Coming into the CCS Championship the anxiety and nerves were high but Lara came through once again for the team running her best race of the season. Despite some tightness before the race she went to work and moved up through the race to finish in the top 20. She was also the second fastest freshman in her division.

You don’t need to look very far to see where she gets her competitive nature. While she splits her time with softball, running has been an important part of her life since she can remember. “When I was little I would always see my Dad training for marathons, triathlons, Ironman’s, you name it. He was my role model and I wanted to be just like him. He is the one who inspired me to become a runner. He's always there to calm my nerves before the race, make sure I’m hydrating and eating those disgusting Gu packets.”

Another motivating factor that has carried her through this season is the team aspect of the sport. “I love being with my teammates. They keep me going and I love our inside jokes. We're like a family and we're always there for each other on our good and bad days.”

One of the fastest freshman to ever run for the Warriors Lara will bring her tenacity to the the State Championship November, 26th in Fresno.

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