Modest Success

Published 6:12 am Monday, June 8, 2009

By By Chandler Myers
Success and achievements can often go to a person’s head and lead to arrogance. For recent Escambia Academy graduate Alan Ash, the success he has seen has only done the opposite by increasing his modesty.
In the last nine months alone, Ash has helped his cross country and track teams win the AISA Class 2A state championships, honored as the state’s Wendy’s High School Heisman winner, been accepted to Vanderbilt University, been awarded the AISA SGA Leadership Award and completed his career at the Academy by being his class’ valedictorian.
He has also spent the last four years in charge of a successful charity named “D’s Tees,” which is a tribute to his best friend Dylan Adams who died of brain cancer in September of 2004.
Ash’s modest response to how he handles so many activities and accomplishments is something deeper than him or any other human being.
Aside from his faith there is another thing that drives Ash and pushes him to be his best.
Running has become a part of Ash’s life and built him into one of the best cross-country runners around.
His love for running started at the age of five when hebegan running with his parents. Now he runs six days a week averaging five miles each day with some variation due to running twice a day during the summer.
At the Academy, he became a fixture for the cross country and track teams by constantly finishing first in long distance events.
Ash said his parents were the reason he started running. He added that reaching goals is one of the things that pull him to the sport.
Most recently Ash set two new state records in April at the AISA State Track Meet.
Ash broke a 12-year-old record in the one mile with a time of 4:34:86. The two-mile record sat at 10:21 for 25 years until Ash raced through the finish line at 10:09.
In an interview after his team had won the championship, Cougars head coach Heath Gibson said it would be difficult finding a distance runner like Ash.
That talent is something that Ash hopes to continue using when he begins attending Vanderbilt in the fall.
He plans to walk-on to the Commodores cross country team and eventually earn an athletic scholarship.
Choosing to become a member of the Commodore family was simple for Ash because he has family history there.
That history along with the atmosphere immediately drew Ash toward applying to the prestigious school, which is a member of the Southeastern Conference.
Being accepted to Vanderbit is not an easy task because of the high academic standards that the school has.
Ash’s road to Vanderbilt might not have been simple, but it was possibly easier than for others with all of the accomplishments and activities on his resume.
His first accomplishment is one he holds near to his heart. “D’s Tees” is a charity started by the 18 year old in honor of his best friend Dylan Adams who died of brain cancer in 2004.
The concept of the organization is to take ordinary T-shirts and turn them into something extraordinary, a hospital gown.
Ash with the help of some gracious volunteer sewers Connie Hartzog, Diane McKenzie and Breah Adams make the gowns, so children dealing with illnesses in the hospital have some comfort.
His most recent accomplishments include an SGA award and reeiving a Wendy’s High School Heisman.
Earlier in the school year, Ash was honored as the State of Alabama’s recipient of the Wendy’s award.
As for the SGA award, Ash was surprised to receive it because he thought was attending a normal ceremony for the top scholars in Montgomery.
As of now, Ash is enjoying his summer vacation like any other teenager, but with college starting in the fall he said he is looking forward to beginning a new chapter in his life.

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