Setting the pace: Parish breaks records on track, excels in academics

Ashlyn Parish, a sophomore recreation and sports management major from Fort Worth, Texas, competes in her preferred event of hurdles at a track meet from the spring season. She is determined to blend technical skills, strength and agility to conquer every hurdle, one stride at a time. | Photo courtesy of UT Athletics

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Ashlyn Parish engraved her name into the Utah Tech University record books by setting a new school record.

Parish, a sophomore recreation and sports management major from Fort Worth, Texas, set a school record in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.89 seconds. That time is not only a school record but a personal record for her by .03 seconds.

Parish broke the record back-to-back weekends, first March 23 in the Utah Tech Invitational, then March 29 at the Vince O’Boyle Track and Field Classic hosted by The University of California Irvine.

Parish said being able to go out in back-to-back weeks and chip away at her personal records is only getting her closer to the times she wants to be at and where she wants to be at in the conference.

Parish said she ended up at Utah Tech because, during her first visit to the university, she loved the coaches, her future teammates and the environment. She also loved the location.

“I really enjoyed St. George,” Parish said. “It is a nice change from Fort Worth.”

Parish is a year-round track athlete who competes as a hurdler in both the indoor and outdoor track seasons, but she also runs other events on occasion.

Track and field head coach Derrick Atkins said: “Having an athlete like Ashlyn Parish on the team is truly remarkable. She brings an unparalleled level of dedication, skill and leadership to the group.”

Not only is she a year-round athlete, but she also has to keep up with the academic rigor that is required to be a dual major.

Parish said her schedule in a week goes as follows. She has two classes every day of the week. Her schedule is built where she only has early morning classes so she can be done with her classes every day before her practice block at noon. Outside of practice, she gets lifts in as well. Then, in the afternoon, if she has free time, she will usually go to the trainers for various forms of recovery, or she will go to study hall.

“Balancing academic pursuits with the rigorous training schedule of a competitive athlete requires exceptional time management skills, dedication, and perseverance, all of which Ashlyn demonstrates admirably,” Atkins said.

On top of academics and athletics, Parish always tries to be the best teammate she can.

Atkins said Parish is the epitome of a supportive teammate who is always pushing and motivating herself and her teammates to improve.

“Ashlyn is a very big motivator,” said Jesse Fowler, a freshman exercise science major from Bushland, Texas, who runs with Parish in races. “I will be running a relay, and all I will be hearing is her screaming ‘Go Jesse.’ She is always encouraging me no matter what, no matter if she just ran a 400 and she is out of breath, she is still screaming for you.”

Parish is pushing to be the best that she can in all aspects of her life.

“I just set a lot of goals for myself,” Parish said. “All of my little goals are building up to my big ones. One of my biggest fears is not being successful. It is a small driving force that makes me try to hit my goals.”

As Parish balances the demands of academics, athletics and personal life while striving for excellence, she’s breaking records along the way.