May 31, 2011
UC Santa Barbara sprinter Snita Ashford crouched into the blocks for the 100 meter final at the Big West Championships with something to prove. The senior was about to take part in her final race as a Gaucho and emotions were high.
"When I was warming up I felt nervous," Ashford said. "I decided that I was going to dedicate the race to everybody who quit the team, everybody who didn't believe in me and everybody who thought I would quit the team and gave up on me as a person." Ashford matched her personal best time of 12.10 and took fourth in the race to end her collegiate career on a high note.
After a standout track & field career at Buena Park High School, Ashford came to UCSB with high expectations. The former Orange County 100 meter champion aspired to be one of the top sprinters in the Big West and qualify for nationals, but injuries derailed her plans before she set foot on campus.
"[During] my senior year of high school I fractured my foot, so I took time off, came back and had a really strong season," Ashford said. "I trained really hard that summer to prepare for UCSB, and I injured my foot again."
Ashford spent the bulk of her first two years at UCSB in a boot protecting her injured foot, which limited her training to upper body lifting, stationary bike and pool workouts. During that time her commitment and mental toughness were tested. "Anytime a sprinter has a history of soft tissue injuries, it's something they have to overcome in the mind," said UCSB sprint coach Josh Priester. "She handled the adversity well and overcame it."
Despite the recurring injury, Ashford attended track & field events to support her teammates and remained an active member of the team, but her health would not allow her to properly train towards her goals.
"It's really hard to mentally stay focused and be a part of the team because you can't do what your teammates are doing," Ashford said. "You see your teammates progressing and doing well and you wish you were there."
Ashford began to return to form her junior season and was finally able to compete on a consistent basis. With a full season under her belt and an intense summer training regimen behind her, Ashford entered her senior year primed to excel.
Fall workouts proved to Ashford that she was back to 100-percent setting the stage for the breakout season she had hoped for.
"At the indoor meet this season in Washington she came out and ran some great times," Priester said. "She was a completely different athlete right away this season."
20 Questions With Snita Ashford
What are your favorite things to do?
What is your favorite class you've ever taken at UCSB?
If you could have any superpower what would it be and why would you want it?
What are your plans for the future outside of track and field?
Who is your favorite athlete?
What would be your perfect meal?
Who are your role model(s)?
What is your favorite T.V. show?
If you were on a deserted island and could only bring three things what would they be?
What is your favorite UCSB sport to watch besides track & field?
Who is your favorite author?
What is your favorite spot on campus?
If you could be any animal what would it be?