Ashlynn Williams Runs Into the Record Book!


Submitted by Ashlynn Williams

Photo taken by Coach Garver of Ashlynn as she placed 7th at the Neal Charske Invitational on September 25th, 2021.

Peyton Steiniger, Reporter

     Junior and cross country runner, Ashlynn Williams is breaking records and climbing her way to be the top runner in the SWOC. Currently, Ashlynn is fourth in the conference, with a personal best time of 21:14.40. An avid runner since 7th grade, Ashlynn holds the school record. The old record held by Hannah Bush had stood since 2013. When Ashlynn crossed the finish line at the Brookville invitational, she was overwhelmed with emotions. “I wasn’t expecting it at all, so I was proud of myself obviously.  I felt like, ‘No way I just did that.’”  Ashlynn broke the record by 20 seconds. Coach Russo, who has been coaching for 36 years and is both the head cross country coach and head track coach, has enjoyed watching Ashlynn drop her times.  He said, “When she first started training, I went back and looked at times she had posted since fall. I knew given how hard she trained and the times she was posting in track, I knew she was capable of being among the best distance runners in the SWOC.” He believes she “is going to return as a top runner next year, and a regional and state qualifier as a senior.” As a junior, Ashlynn has colleges reaching out to her. She doesn’t currently plan on doing cross country in college, but she says if her times continue to increase, and she’s given a good opportunity she would like to continue. Coach Russo sees a lot of potential and drive in Ashlynn as a runner. “She has the traits of all the highly successful athletes I’ve coached in the past: great leg speed, mentally tough, goal-oriented, great work ethic, she executes on meet day, and she’s very confident and very competitive.” Ashlynn believes herself to have a good work ethic as well. “To be a good runner you have to like mentally push. It’s more of a mental sport than it is a physical sport.” Ashlynn encourages other runners to “break a barrier” on their mental strength when running. “I would say if it’s easy, everybody would do it. So you just have to keep pushing and you kind of have to break a barrier of how mentally strong you are. The one thing that helped me in a race was ‘If it’s easy everybody would do it’ and ‘it’s not supposed to be comfortable.’” According to Coach Russo, Ashlynn “is totally committed to being the best she can be.” He says she really has the dedication, the talent, and is very coachable. “She has the traits of all the highly successful athletes I’ve coached in the past”. He says the traits really separate her as a player. Ashlynn is a top-ten runner and is working every day to continually improve. Coach Russo states, “There’s a reason why people are successful and she checks all the boxes.”  As Ashlynn continues her climb, she builds off of the analogy “Soar with the eagles”. She says this was told to her by Edgewood Athletic Hall of Fame member, Dave Hazelwood, at practice not long ago. He told her, “Don’t just be in the race, be a part of it.”