MINFORD — Minford senior Bryson Ashley isn’t letting the coronavirus pandemic get in the way of his aspirations that will soon become a reality — once life indeed returns to “normal”.
Despite not being able to hold his signing ceremony in-person, Ashley recently signed his letter-of-intent to continue his education and track and field career at Capital University.
Upon visiting Capital, and a host of other post-secondary universities, Ashley admitted it was the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science — among other factors that ultimately led him to commit to spending at least the next four years of his life at the Bexley based-institution.
“I visited several college campuses and what stood out at Capital was their bachelor’s degree in political science,” Ashley said. “They also have their own law school, internship opportunities and their graduation rate. The staff all made me feel comfortable and motivated. When I met Capital’s track coach, Coach (Hannah) Weiss, she knew so much about me already, my times, my race, she was motivating. The final thing was the location, it’s located in Bexley, a nice town itself and just 10 minutes from the Ohio Statehouse.”
As a four-year track and field athlete and football player and three-year basketball player at Minford, Ashley and his teammates have certainly left their mark in terms of the success they’ve sustained.
At the 2019 Division III Southeast District track and field meet hosted by Southeastern High School, the Minford boys posted a meet-high score of 104 team points to claim the outright district championship and qualify for the following week’s regional meet.
Minford’s success in spring track was mirrored by the baseball program’s second-straight regional championship game appearance.
Ashley and his teammates of all Minford athletics then continued their success into football season, when the Falcons finished with a 7-3 record to clinch their first OHSAA postseason berth since 2012.
“I will look back with gratitude, because it was some of the greatest times of my life with my friends. I’ll look back on my years being a Falcon with pride, it will forever be a part of who I am. #family, “Ashley said of his time as a Falcon. “I have spent a tremendous amount of time with Coach (Jesse) Ruby — four years of football and four years of track, he has been there so much. He has always coached me to be my best, I’ll never forget that.”
The Minford senior is one of hundreds of student-athletes in Scioto County and one of thousands in the state of Ohio whose finish to their spring sports season may ultimately meet an untimely fate.
The coronavirus pandemic has Ohio’s schools currently closed through April 5 in accordance with the state and federal guidelines in regards to social distancing and the prevention of spread of the virus.
Although, that could very soon change.
As of last Thursday, the OHSAA announced that its then in-limbo winter sports state championships would be cancelled and not be made up.
A similar fate for spring sports in Ohio and across the country is on-the-table as of Monday, but no official decisions have been made in regards to this.
Currently, spring sports are set to resume on April 6 with a six-day practice period prior to the official start of the proposed abbreviated season.
No matter the outcome, however, Ashley is keeping a positive mindset towards the possibilities — while also acknowledging the threat of the spread of sickness if indeed students are to return to schools and the spring sports season would be held but delayed.
“I just really hope that our current situation resolves sooner than later so that we can all be safe. As far as goals, I have personal records to go after, and the school record in the 400m dash currently held by Ethan Butcher from 2011,” Ashley said. “Our track team were district champions last year, I have competed in regionals my freshman, sophomore and junior year, this is my senior year and I would love to have the opportunity to accomplish goals like that again. They carry a good bit of pride and memories. But if one of my classmates, teammates, family or community members were seriously ill or gone because we ran track versus quarantine then it wouldn’t be the same anyhow, it would be hard to continue on. So even though I’m missing it like crazy for my senior year, it’s not as important as the people in my life are.”
Years of hard work for Ashley have finally culminated in a moment that those who aspire to be something more can look towards, while he himself continues to set goals of a higher standard to follow.
“It means that all of the hard work has paid off,” Ashley said of signing to continue his education and track career. “It is exciting to be at the point where I can attend Capital for the degrees I want and run track competing at the college level. I’ll keep setting goals and continue working on my goals and ambitions.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved