IOWA CITY– The Sept. 13 race had a little extra significance for Solon senior Abby Ashton. It was on the Ashton Cross Country Course at the University of Iowa. Brothers and 1960s Iowa runners Bill and Jim Ashton provided the lead gift for development of the course. “Bill is my Grandpa. Jim is my great-uncle, ”smiled Abby, when asked about the connection. She was also smiling because she was in the varsity mix this season; running fifth, sixth or seventh so far; realizing she has very good junior varsity runners pushing her for the spot. Prior to this season, Ashton had been strictly JV herself. A deep reserve. “Very, very deep,” she emphasized.
So what was it like to run on her grandfather’s course and as a varsity runner in her senior year? “It was special. I felt like I had more of a connection; more of a purpose out there, ”responded Abby. “It gave me something to focus on as I ran. It’s a beautiful course; great mix of up and down hills”
Oh, and Grandpa was there, too, watching her.