Log in

Eagles' Ashley will have his sights set on medals this spring, as well as his spikes


Aaron Ashley’s quest to become Nixa’s first State medalist in the 1,600 and 3,200 this season will see him keeping a closer eye on his spikes.

Ashley’s hopes to medal in the 1,600 at State last season were derailed when his spikes were stolen at Adkins Stadium in Jefferson City. Just like seemingly every other trackster at any meet, he set his spikes down prior to the 1,600 on the football turf inside the track.

When he returned to get them, they were nowhere to be found.

“I laid them down and they were gone. No one ever found them,” Ashley said. “After that happened, my mindset was completely different.  I was (ticked) off and not ready to race. It ended up being a crap show. I was kind of just running around and wasn't in the right zone. That led to not running a good race.”

Ashley recorded a 10:18, after setting a school record of 9:39.24 at Sectionals a week earlier.

“I brought an extra pair of workout shoes (to State) with me,” he said. “But they definitely weren't as good as spikes. I’ll definitely be a little more cautious now and bring an extra pair of spikes.”

Ashley posted a winning time of 9:47.15 at last Friday’s season-opening Neosho Relays.

Last year, he also set Nixa’s school record in the 1,600 at 4:22.56.

Last fall during cross country season, Ashley finished seventh at State.

As Ashley and Nixa coach Lance Brumley point out, success in cross country doesn’t always correlate to successful long-distance running in track.

“In the running world, they are different sports. To the layman, they might seem the same,” Brumley said. “But there are different skill sets and different strategies. (Ashley) is pretty talented at both.”

“I would say I'm pretty well rounded. I don't know which one I'm better at,” Ashley said. “Cross (country) is more challenging. You have to be tougher. It's a longer race. Track is a lot more about speed. The mindset for cross (country) and track are different.”

Ashley feels his mental game is one of his strengths.

“My freshman year my mind (wandered) a lot,” he said of his focus while running. “Now, I'm really locked in. I'm not thinking about a lot, just focusing on the race and the people ahead of and behind me.”

Ashley’s older sister, Alicen, is also a Nixa 3,200 record-holder. She set the Lady Eagles’ record at 11:05.01 in 2022.

Alicen has continued her cross country and track careers collegiately at Tulsa.

“She gives me lots of advice on how much I should be running each week, what workouts I should be doing and what I can do on my own,” Aaron said. “She's influenced me a lot in this sport. Knowing she was one of the best runners in the state, I wanted to do the same thing.”

Still, it took a bit for him to catch the running bug.

“Not right away, at first I was dreading it,” Ashley said of his enthusiasm for long-distance running. “But as I got older, I realized it was what I was good at. Now, I love the process of it all, the training and competing.”