OT 2023 Boys Track and Field Player of the Year: Thomas Ashby

July 1, 2023 | 4:12 am

Updated July 1, 2023 | 4:12 am

Apollo’s Thomas Ashby put the finishing touches on an impressive career during his senior season, resulting in him being named the 2023 Owensboro Times Boys Track and Field Player of the Year.

Ashby closed out his senior year with a strong finish, bringing home the gold with a 4:14.92 time in the 1600M run to score a state championship. This was a goal that Thomas had been chasing for years, one that he felt he’s put in plenty of work for.

“Honestly, it felt deserved and I wasn’t that surprised I did it,” Ashby said. “ All season long I knew I was the fastest distance runner in Kentucky, I just had to prove it when it mattered.”

He came into the year wanting to be a state champion in the mile or two mile, break a Steeplechase State Record and a sub-nine minute two mile. Ashby was able to accomplish two of those things, with his state mile and recent run at Steeplechase being his most memorable moments of the season.

“That was a great day,” Ashby said. “The night where I ran 5:53 in the 2000m Steeplechase and qualified for the U20’s was pretty special too. My entire track team plus other schools came out and helped me run that time by myself.”

Those moments go right up there with some of Ashby’s favorite memories at Apollo, sitting alongside that many times that he’s shared with his fellow Eagles—competing for a program that he will always cherish despite being ready to take the next step in his academic and athletic career.

“The adventures with my distance friends are probably my fondest memories,” Ashby said. “We’re a fun group who love to run and explore, and play ping pong… It’s meant everything. Running has taken up an enormous portion of my life and it will continue to do so. Apollo was my home base for running, but it’s given everything it could offer me. I will always be an Apollo Eagle, but it’s time to move out.”

Thomas said that he couldn’t have become that decorated athlete that he is today without his parents and coaches, who have always supported and pushed him along his journey.

“They’ve given me a great atmosphere to train, learn, and experience things that mold me into a successful athlete,” Ashby said. “They are very realistic with me about weaknesses, strengths, and how we can use those to our advantage and improvement.”

Thomas’s efforts have landed him a spot with the University of Cincinnati in the fall, a new adventure that he knows will come with some challenges, but is absolutely excited for.

“Whatever you did in high school, doesn’t really matter once you get to college,” Ashby said. “It all restarts. That transition from high school to college is one of the most difficult things for elite distance runners to get through. I’ll be very focused on staying healthy, getting a good start on my studies, and making sure I’m as helpful to my team as possible.”

A strong mentality is something that Ashby will continue to take on his journey as a Bearcat, which is a motivation that he wanted to share with fellow competitors like himself when asked.

“If you want to win or break a barrier,” Ashby said. “Bet on yourself and put yourself in it. Success in running never comes from luck. If you don’t truly believe you’re capable of it, you’re always going to hesitate to reach out and grab it. That’s something I learned this track season. It’s really changed my mentality during races and has had great results.”

July 1, 2023 | 4:12 am

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