Being focused never has been an issue for Worthington Christian senior Ashley Hall when it comes to competing in track and field.
On more than one occasion in past seasons, girls coach Mark Mousa would remind Hall that it was time to go to an awards podium, only to have Hall respond about how her cooldown would take precedence.
"She knew when she needed to start warming up that it was all about preparation and routine," Mousa said. "That was the cornerstone of her success, that her body knew exactly what to do at every point of the race. She was such a creature of habit. She trained hard but understood that it's different when you're racing. When she was racing someone, she was never cocky. She's a humble, sweet, quiet girl, but with competition, she's intense."
Hall wonders whether her determination may have been a slight hindrance to achieving her goals last season. Before this season was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, she had set her mind on running with more confidence.
Last season at the Division III state meet, Hall left feeling disappointed after placing 10th in the 200 meters in 26.18 seconds, .01 of a second from reaching the final.
That followed a sophomore season in which she placed fourth in the 100 (12.34) and sixth in the 200 (25.57) at state and was on the seventh-place 800 relay (1:46.24).
"My biggest adversity was just coming out of my sophomore year after placing fourth at state," Hall said. "I put a lot of pressure on myself and I think that hurt my junior year, so that was something I wanted to work on heading into my senior year.
"My lack of confidence held me back, so that is something I knew I had to work on going into my senior year. I had a lot of motivation and high expectations for myself for this year. I wanted to be a state champion and had begun my training (last) June in order to set myself up as best as possible to reach my goals. I had the opportunity to work with some Worthington Christian alumni through the offseason, which was a huge blessing and motivation."
Hall, who committed to compete for Taylor University in mid-May, and her teammates had practiced for nearly three weeks before the spring sports season was initially postponed because of the coronavirus.
She has continued to work out as much as possible in preparation for her freshman season at Taylor, an NAIA school in Upland, Indiana.
Her sister Emily, a 2018 Worthington Christian graduate, attends Indiana Wesleyan.
At the 2018 state meet, Hall and her older sister teamed with Mianna Hartings and Emma Kasich on the 800 relay as well as the 12th-place 400 relay.
Last year at state, Hall was on the 15th-place 400 relay (51.02) with her younger sister Grace as well as Oyinda Oladejo-Lawal and Sarah Chong. Grace Hall and Chong are sophomores and Oladejo-Lawal is a junior.
Ashley Hall also competed for the Warriors' girls basketball team throughout high school.
"(Basketball) was definitely a lot different than track," she said. "I like in basketball how it was more of a team effort. We had a few different coaches over the years, but it was cool to be with those girls."
Hall, who is considering studying speech pathology or child psychology in college, had planned on adding the 400 to her repertoire this season in addition to the 100 and 200 and relays and is excited for what lies ahead competition-wise.
"High school track has given me many high moments, along with challenges to face," said Hall, who was on the 1,600 relay that qualified for regional last season. "It's definitely disappointing to walk away from my high school track career so abruptly without the chance to fulfill my goals or expectations, but I'm blessed that this is not the end (since I'll) continue into college.
"I also understand that this is so much bigger than just missing a track season. With so many people suffering and experiencing life-changing hurt, although it is heartbreaking to lose my senior track season, it seems silly and selfish to feel bad for myself. High school track has given me so many memories, such as getting to compete at the state meet, not only in my open events, but also in relays with both of my sisters."