Record-setting runner on the move
Ashley Windsor is making up for lost time.
A sprained ankle hampered Windsor for much of 2011, but fully healthy and raring to go, the 17-year-old is in full flight this track and field season.
Windsor captured three gold medals last week at the Fraser Valley track and field championships, which were held at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park, winning gold in the 400m, 800m and 1500m distances.
She also set new Fraser Valley records in the first two events, completing the 400m race in 56.13 and the 800m in 2:09.90.
Her time in the 1500m event was 4:32.49.
For her efforts, Windsor won both the senior girls aggregate award and the meet’s most inspirational athlete award, duplicating the latter award which she won in 2010 as a Grade 10 student.
“I didn’t expect to win it again,” she admitted.
“I felt very honoured.”
Windsor, a Grade 12 student, was a big part in helping Walnut Grove capture the senior girls and the senior team banners at the Fraser Valley championships.
Windsor’s success should not come as a surprise, says one of her Walnut Grove coaches the past five years.
“She was a good runner and you could tell she was fast,” said coach Don Sparks.
“She was the fastest kid we had but the times weren’t extraordinary.”
Sparks pointed out that a look at the school record books show that Windsor does not hold any of the Walnut Grove records for Grade 8 and just one record at the junior level.
But with last year’s injury behind her, Windsor is blooming, especially lately.
“I am just doing my best to set new (personal bests) and make up for that lost year,” she said.
Her name is all over the school record book at the senior level and Sparks says Windsor has run six personal bests in distances from the 100m to three-km in the last month alone.
“It is coming together this year,” Sparks said.
“It seems like a bit of a storm for me because I am seeing the times drop a lot more quickly than I expected them to.”
The results are linked to the work she is putting in.
“Ashley is really hard working,” he said. “And she has been comparing herself to those times on the championship chart and trying to measure herself to those other girls.
“She has worked very hard and has natural ability, plus she is disciplined.”
Windsor still has one more major meet before she is officially done as a Walnut Grove Gator: the B.C. high school track and field championships next weekend at Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium. She is hoping to duplicate the gold medal she won for her school — a Gators’ first — at the cross-country championships back in the fall.
After that, she will begin preparing for the next chapter in her running life: attending California Polytechnic State University, where Windsor has accepted a scholarship to run with the Mustangs cross-country and track and field teams.
It was in Grade 10 that Windsor first thought a scholarship was an attainable goal, but it was only this year where she thought she may be able to attend a U.S. university to compete.
“I am really excited,” she said about her impending move south of the border.
“I wanted an adventure, something new, and I thought I could find that at Cal Poly.”
Windsor did look at several schools, but the California university was always high on her radar.
“It was a long process, but I am confident in my decision,” she said.
Mustangs coach Mark Conover first saw Windsor run on video.
“Very efficient, very economical, great stride and mechanics,” he noted about his first impression.
He was also impressed upon meeting Windsor in person.
“I like any student-athlete who seems to have a calm, even-keel demeanor and I picked up on that right away,” Conover added.
“Also very bright and intuitive, and I had that sense about her too.”