Photo: Ashville High School senior Ashton Vann signs a cross country scholarship with Gadsden State on May 11. Pictured, sitting, from left: mom Stacy, Ashton, dad Blake. Standing, from left: AHS cross country coach Michele Rogers, brother Maddox, brother Landon, Gadsden State cross country coach Roseann Green. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Ashton Vann’s long-distance running career will continue on the banks of the Coosa River.
The Ashville High School senior signed a cross country scholarship with Gadsden State on May 11.
Vann is relatively new to the sport, having taken up cross country this past fall, indoor track last winter and outdoor track in the spring of 2021. That fits in at Gadsden State, as the Cardinals will field their first cross country team since the 2009 season.
Vann helped the 2021 AHS boys cross country team finished third overall in the state and first in public schools. Vann’s 5K time of 17:21.18 placed him 17th out of 160 runners. He and his 4×800-meter relay teammates won the state title in indoor, won the sectional title and finished fifth at the state outdoor meet. In addition to the 4×800, Vann qualified for the 400 and 800-meter runs at the Class 4A state track and field meet.
“Just coming into [the sport] this late and being able to compete at the next level with high expectations is great,” he said. “It’s a little worrisome to compete in college, but at the same time, I know that I can do it, because all it is is hard work and determination. It will also be awesome being so close to home.”
Vann was on Gadsden State cross county coach Roseann Green’s radar soon after the 2021 cross country season began in late August.
“I was really impressed with Ashton’s times, along with seeing his development as a runner over just a two-year period,” she said. “He can develop into an excellent runner for me at Gadsden State and then move on, if he wants, to a four-year school, which will be my goal for all of our runners.
“Ashton also comes from a solid program at Ashville. Their runners train hard and know what it takes to win.”
Vann also lettered in basketball, baseball and football at Ashville.
“Over the last two years, I’ve seen Ashton grow into the runner and the awesome young man that he is,” said Ashville cross country and track and field coach Michele Rogers. “When he finally agreed to run track and cross country, Ashton showed up and showed out. I’m very proud of Ashton and I’m excited to see him run at the next level. He has so much more to offer and so much more room to grow.”