COLUMBUS — For Covington junior Asher Long, it was the perfect way to head into his senior season.
Long ran the D-III 3,200-meter run to perfection at the state track and field championships Saturday at Jesse Owens Stadium.
He finished fifth in 9:34.01.
“I have done that (been on the podium) in cross country, but track is a whole different animal,” Long said. “Last year, I was seventh at the regional meet and this year I am fifth at the state meet. I would say that is a pretty big turnaround.”
And Long did it his way.
On the opening lap, several runners came together about 50 yards from the start/finish line, with one going to the ground.
It happened right in front of Long, but it didn’t faze him.
“I was expecting it,” he said. “It was bound to happen as tightly packed as everybody was.”
And Long layed back a little for the first four laps.
“I took it easy because of the heat,” Long said. “I made my move at the mile mark.”
He moved into a pack battling for fourth place and stayed there the rest of the race. And Long did it, running in lane two for almost the enitre race — which was by design.
“I don’t like to run on the inside lane,” Long said. “You can get boxed in. I like to run on the outisde, that way you can make a move when you want to.”
All the way to the podium.
“This feels great,” Long said. “I was really happy with my race and it gives me a lot of confidence going into cross country next season. I can’t wait.”
Covington junior Carlie Besecker competed in the 400-meter dash semifinals Friday.
Besecker ran a 60.32 to finish fifth in her heat and 12th overall.
Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]