Salute to Seniors: Jewel Ash of Eastern Regional HS

Salute To Seniors is a medium for "senior farewells". We invited the 2020 seniors to tell their stories from the past four years. With the loss of the spring season we hope we can offer a chance to reflect on all the great moments this class did get to experience. Thank you to everyone who submitted, we are closing up the series and still have a few in queue to be posted. 

Jewel Ash

Eastern Regional HS

What was your most memorable race?

My most memorable moment was during my freshman year of high school spring season. It was the day of Meet of Champions and I was scared to death. I was scared to death because I found out I was in the seeded heat of the 400 hurdles with Sydney McLaughlin! It was the most nerve wrecking news I had ever heard. I cried, and nearly wanted to not run anymore. In the end, I ran the race and placed 8th overall. That race taught me to not focus on those who are around you but only focus on the finish line.

Who would you consider your biggest competition over the past four years? 

My biggest competition over the years would definitely be Karagan Bulger. My freshman and sophomore year I had always run against her but I genuinely never knew who she was haha, but come junior year there she was.... you could see the determination and strength in her face in every race she ran with me, it was almost like she said, "put some respect on my name" in the most direct but indirect way, and that is surly what she got. Our respect. Karagan wasn't only competition to me though, she was literally the sweetest, kindhearted, hard-working person I had ever met. She probably won't see this because she continued her life at the Coast Guard Academy. I will always just be happy to call her a friend! 

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?  

The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was the obstacle I built for myself. All my life I've had some insane anxiety and I tend to overthink myself into some deep places and they ended up reflecting on my track and field career. I would think about everyone but ME, and that is the most unhealthy thing to do when track is one of the biggest mentally uneasy sports. If you don't believe in yourself, you will block out all of the support weighing you down. Thankfully, with God, my family, and track family I did find my way. It was almost like they helped me fully blossom just in time for my next four years in college. 

What will you miss the most?

What I will miss most would have to be my coach staff. My coaching staff meant the world to me and a bond was created within these four years. Coach Malone (our head track and field coach) was really always there and completely understood me. We definitely did argue but in the end I'd always apologize and we'd be right back.

Then there was Coach Tange, he wasn't directly my coach because he coached cross country, but he never failed to recognize all my accomplishments. Lastly, Coach Jackson the sprint/hurdle coach. Coach Jackson was like a second father in a way. It wasn't all about track with him, he wanted to know about school, he wanted to know about how my family was doing. He always went that extra mile for all of us and I will forever be grateful for that.

I will dearly miss them all, and they all will forever hold a place in my life. 

What advice would you give to younger upcoming athletes?

My biggest piece of advice I'd give to upcoming athletes is to get out your head. You are your biggest challenge, remember that God has a plan and you are there for a reason. Never stop your grind. 

What are your post-high school or college plans?

Post high school I am attending Charleston Southern University. I will be a sprinter/hurdler. I will be majoring in English to hopefully go to law school and become a criminal justice prosecutor.