COVINGTON — You could say Covington High School senior Asher Long is a natural when it comes to distance running.
And his combining that with an incredible work ethic has made him one of the top distance runners in the state.
The son of Josh and Libby Long will continue that at the University of Findlay for the next four years after signing his letter of intent in the Covington High School library Thursday night.
“I really liked the coach at Findlay and I know a lot of the runners,” Asher Long said. “I thought if I was going to go somewhere, it would be probably be easier if I went where I know some of the runners.”
Asher Long has been attending cross country meets almost since berth — his father Josh is the longtime boys cross country coach and also coaches the boys track team, while his mom Libby is a former standout runner at Covington and coached the girls cross country team for a number of years.
“We always talk about how do you become good — by being dedicated,” Josh Long said. “Asher hasn’t hardly missed a practice in 18 years. We pretty much drug him everywhere with us (he said with a laugh).”
And Asher Long enjoyed every minute of it.
“I can’t remember missing many cross country meets,” he said.
He recently capped an impressive cross country career at Covington with a third-place finish in Division III at the state meet.
After the race, he remembered back to his freshman year.
“I probably only beat about 10 runners at the regional race that year,” he said. “To make it to state as a sophomore and finish 25th, make All-Ohio as a junior and finish third this year, I am really proud of what I was able to accomplish.”
Long leaves with the school record of 15:26, which he lowered a number of times.
He was the TRC Runner of the Year three times, a two-time district and regional champion and all-state three times.
Asher Long has had just as much success in his first three years on the track in the spring.
He holds the 1,600 (4:28.0) and 3,200 (9:21) school records at Covington.
Long won the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 at the TRC meet last spring to earn TRC Track Athlete of the Year and finished fifth at the D-III state meet in the 3,200 meter run.
“I am excited to see what I am going to be able to do in track this spring,” Asher Long said.
He is also a 4.0 student, having earned All-Ohio Academic the last three years in cross country and All-Ohio Academic in track last spring.
“Asher (Long) pretty much handled this whole thing himself,” Josh Long said about his college choice. “I do think Findlay is a great fit.”
He also feels like his best running is in front of him.
“For sure,” Josh Long said. “We under train, if anything, at Covington because we don’t have a lot of runners and we don’t want to wear them out. I think Asher (Long) still has a lot left in the tank. When he gets to Findlay, with all the training and everything, he is only going to get better.”
Which, would only be natural.
Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]