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Miss Everything
Pitmans Lair looks to compete in every track event
Pitman High’s Ashley Lair practices her pole vaulting. At today’s Brenda Invitational at Cal State Stanislaus, the senior will attempt to clear the bar, putting herself just one discus throw away from completing her quest to compete in every track and field event. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal
Ashley Lair is a Pitman High senior who has spent endless hours cheerleading for the school’s sports team on top of her duties as a Student Council member. She’s petite and greets people with a smile. But behind all this lies quite an ambitious athlete, one who’s chasing a feat that no other Pride athlete in track and field has ever done.
Lair’s goal before she graduates is to compete in every event in track and field, from running events to throwing discus. She’s getting close to achieving a goal she started four years ago, though she didn’t know it at the time.
On Wednesday, in a league meet against Golden Valley High, she attempted the pole vault for the first time.
“I was hoping that she would have cleared a bar in pole,” Pitman coach Thad Moren said, “and then would only be one discus throw away from completing the task.”
She admits not being the best in any of the events, but Lair has shown she’s not afraid to try something new. These are the events that she’s conquered: the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 meter runs, the steeplechase, the two hurdle events, the long jump, the triple jump, the high jump, the shot put, the hammer throw and the javelin. All that are left are the pole vault and discus, as she will try once again at the former event in today’s Al Brenda Invitational at the all-new Brenda Track at Cal State Stanislaus. The meet is slated to begin at 9 a.m.
Her first event was the hurdles.
“I spent a long time as a hurdler and I felt like I was never the best at it,” Lair said. “And then I did a heptathlon a couple summers ago and I got a pretty high score in that. I realized that I wasn’t a success in anything but I was pretty decent in a lot of different things. So I figured that I’m not going to break any records, my mark would be to do everything, which no one has done before.”
Really, all she has to do to become the Pride’s first all-track athlete is to clear the bar in the pole vault. Today’s opening height is 6 feet. And once she overcomes that feat, she can move on to the discus, in which all she needs to do is get a clean throw in, with the distance having no factor in a successful toss.
Lair tried new things as a freshman, and now is one of two senior track athletes — the other being Lauren Aronson — with four years of varsity experience. Lair does admit that there’s a case of jitters when she’s competing in an event for the first time, even in practice.
But her role is important for the Pride, with the girls team chasing another Central California Conference title. Lair spends some of her time giving advice to the younger girls, as long as she’s not being coached in a new event.
“The first time you do something new, it’s kind of awkward because you feel like everybody’s been doing it forever,” Lair said. “It’s intimidating really. After awhile, you have to learn how to juggle.”
And she’s been keeping everything under control.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.