Friendly competition around Canoe track
By By Matthew Nascone
Seth Lassiter was dethroned as the AISA cross country state champion Oct. 26 at the 2007 state meet in Mobile, but he didn't mind too much because it was his teammate, Alan Ash, who took his crown.
"We have done this the past couple years," Ash said.
The pair of Escambia Academy junior runners has finished first and second the past two years. The only difference is Lassiter won in 2006 and Ash won this year. In 2005 Lassiter won and Ash came in third place.
"It is really not that bad to get dethroned by a teammate," Lassiter said. "It is cool to be first and second because we are able to push each other the whole race. We are friends and rivals at the same time."
Ash said the competition in practice helps the duo to compete better when the meets roll around.
In 2005 that competitive edge helped Lassiter win the title as a freshman.
"In 2005, we set Seth up for the win," Ash said. "I stayed close to (Cottage Hill senior) Lee Steiner and wore him down while Seth waited for the moment to strike."
And strike he did.
"I made sure I stayed close enough where I could see Alan and Lee and then when we neared the end of the race, I was not tired and I took off for the win," Lassiter said.
Steiner had never lost a cross country race until that point.
This competitive friendship did not originate freshman year at the Academy, it grew its roots about five years earlier.
"We have raced against each other every year during the Williams Station Day 5K Run," Ash said. "We go back-and-forth on who wins it. I will win it one year and Seth will win it the next year."
The pair has been competing in the 5K run since Seth was 9 and Alan was 8.
Ash and Lassiter said they owe all they have accomplished to their coach, Joel Lambert.
"We couldn't have done any of this without Joel," Lassiter said. "Joel taught us how to run hard and fast. We always do tough tempo speed drills and workouts."
The duo said they run roughly 25-30 miles per week during cross country season.
"He pushes us hard and gives us good advice on how to run," Ash said.
Some people might wonder why Ash and Lassiter run for sport, but they have a way of saying it that makes sense to them.
"The races are a lot of fun," Lassiter said. "And when people ask us why we like to run we tell them we don't like to run, we like to win."