UC Davis’ very own Flash
Sophomore sprinter Ashley Marshall is running past already high expectations. Nonchalantly setting school records and being the first Aggie sprinter to make Nationals in the Division I era, Marshall is no stranger to winning and tough competition. The California Aggie was fortunate to meet up with UC Davis’ track sensation and converse about her running experiences, accomplishments and goals for the future.
How did you get into track, and sprints in particular?
I started running track in the seventh grade. How I got introduced to track was through my neighbor. She played several sports and we always used to play outside. One day we were outside playing and she challenged me to a race. We were both really competitive so we decided to race and I beat her. Then she asked for a rematch and I beat her two more times running about 80 meters. Afterwards she told me, “Ashley, you’re really fast, you should try to run track.” So when seventh grade track season came around I decided to sign up. I was actually the fastest girl in my middle school. Then during the summer, the coach at the junior community college near my home was offering track and field summer classes. My dad signed me up and that’s where I learned a lot of the basics of track and field.
Did you do any sports before committing to sprints?
I played soccer starting from the age of four and stopped when I reached the seventh grade. I also danced ballet, tap and jazz. I started dancing when I was three and stopped when I was 12.
What made you want to play for UC Davis?
UC Davis is known for their academics and that is part of the reason why I wanted to come here. Also, the previous track and field coach (Kimberly Graham Miler) was a great coach and I thought she could help take me to the next level.
You’ve won Big West Women’s Track Athlete of the Year for two consecutive years, among other accomplishments such as setting the school record for the indoor 200 (24.56), indoor 50m (6.83) and 60m (7.35), and becoming the first Aggie sprinter to qualify for Nationals in the Division I era. How does that feel?
I’m happy with my accomplishments but I want more. My goal is to win Nationals for the 100 meter, my favorite race, and then I will be really happy.
What are your plans after you graduate?
After I graduate I plan on potentially running for the United States or for Barbados. Because my dad is Barbadian and my mom is Trinidadian, I have the option to run for the U.S., Barbados or Trinidad. I’m also thinking about attending graduate school. It would be nice to get a contract and attend school at the same time.
Should we expect to see you running on TV?
Yes! That’s the plan!
What would you say is your biggest strength that helps you succeed so well?
I would say my belief in God. That’s where I get my strength and motivation. I believe I can do all things through Jesus Christ.
What is your most rewarding memory in track and field?
Making it to Nationals as a sophomore. At the time I didn’t realize how big of an accomplishment that was to be top 20 in the nation amongst all of the big track and field schools. And making it as a sophomore is a big accomplishment. Now that I look back at it, I realize it is definitely something to be proud of
How much do you train?
I train Monday through Saturday. If you’re a track and field athlete, training is a lifestyle. Life is just training whether it is mentally or physically.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration would be my parents. They have sacrificed so much for my brother and me. They inspire me to keep going even when it gets tough.
I feel running in general is one of the most grueling and mentally tough things a person can do. What do you think that says about you, playing and succeeding in such a demanding sport?
I’m a fighter. Track is hard and you can anticipate practice being painful. Also, at competitions, doing so many events and trying to go out to win it truly shows me that I’m a fighter.
With the indoor track and field season over, the Aggies will begin to compete outdoors on March 7 against UC Berkeley.
Graphic by CA Aggie Graphic Design Team