Carson High’s Ashley Britt among top hurdlers in Northern Nevada | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson High’s Ashley Britt among top hurdlers in Northern Nevada

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com
Sophomore Ashley Britt powers through a rainstorm to win the 300-meter hurdles event Saturday at the league regional qualifier meet at the Jim Frank Track and Field Complex.
Brad Coman/Nevada Appeal |

IF YOU GO

What: NIAA Regional Track Finals

When: Friday (3 p.m.) and Saturday (8:30 a.m.)

Where: Carson High School

At stake: The top three finishers in each event advance to next week’s state meet at Foothill High in Henderson.

In a short time, Carson High’s Ashley Britt has become one of the top hurdlers in Northern Nevada.

Britt, who had her freshman season cut short because of an ankle injury when she hit a hurdle at the Big George Invitational in a 100-meter hurdle race, has recovered nicely from the ankle injury and an off-season surgery to reach Saturday’s 4A regional finals in both the 100 and 300-meter hurdle events.

It was the off-season surgery that concerned Britt and the coaching staff. Britt underwent reconstructive chest surgery (pectus excavatum) in October at the tail end of the volleyball season.

“Basically her sternum grew in toward her heart and lungs,” said her mother, Ann, who teaches PE at Carson. “This was not caused by any injury, it was just how she grew.

“They placed a bar in her chest to hold the sternum forward. She will have the bar in for a total of two years. She was on limited mobility for three months, no upper body twisting. She was released for activity in February. She started off behind the curve but is starting to come on strong. She has worked extremely hard to make up for lost ground.”

The surgery required three months of essentially no activity.

Britt could walk, but couldn’t run. She couldn’t twist her body from side to side.

“I couldn’t even put on a backpack,” Britt said before Monday’s practice. “I went from full activity to no activity at all. It was really tough.

“I wasn’t expecting much out of the season, but I’ve gotten a lot more out of it than I expected. I’m above where I expected to be.”

Julie Reid, who coaches Carson’s hurdlers, agreed.

“I wasn’t sure how she would do,” Reid said. “I knew her ankle would be fine, but after the surgery it was wait and see. She started out a little behind where she would have been without surgery. She has come on strong, and I’m proud of her.”

And with good reason.

Britt has chalked up season-best times in the 300 in each of the last three weeks, and seems to be building momentum which you want to do. She ran a 48.07 on Saturday in the 4A trials en route to the Sierra League championship.

Entering Saturday’s regional final, Britt is ranked fourth overall in the 300 behind McQueen’s Destiny Tolliver (46.24), McQueen’s Ashlyn Hedrick (47.54) and Reno’s Rylee Jackson (47.62). Jackson ran much slower (50.62) in wet weather last weekend. North Valleys’ Anna Pirtle qualified at 48.93 and Manogue freshman Emma King ran a 49.01.

It makes for an interesting final.

The top three finishers in each event advance to the state meet at Foothill High School May 20-21.

“Competition in my heats,” Britt said when asked why her times have come so much in recent weeks. “Maya (Brosch) was right next to me last week, and I was pushing to stay with her.

“Ashlyn (Hedrick) got second in the High Desert last week, and she’s really pushing me. I didn’t get to run against her last week.”

Britt said technique is the key to shaving seconds in her event.

“You have to minimize your time in the air when you go over a hurdle,” Britt said. “You want to spend more time on the ground, and, and you don’t want to stutter right before the hurdle. Run to it like there is nothing there. I’m definitely stronger than I was last year.”

“She is very strong at the end of the race; stronger than most girls. She is consistent the whole way. She doesn’t stutter. Her form is great over the hurdle. She is showing speed and endurance which is what we want at the end of the year.”

Britt is also entered in the 100 hurdles. She’s coming off a season-best 17.39 last week, but doesn’t consider herself a serious challenge for state in that meet … this year.

“I’m not very fast at short distance,” she said. “It’s hard to be consistent at the three-step approach. I have to go three-four-three and four. Going to a four-step approach takes too much time.

“If I push it in practice, work on it more, I can improve. I love the race.”

Britt also will be in two relays — the 800 and 1600.

“I think we really have a good chance in the 1600,” Britt said. “We were four seconds ahead of any other team last weekend. We didn’t run our best time in the 800, but we can fix that.”

Britt teamed with freshman Annika Wick, Jaidyn Shepard and Abigail Pradere in running a 4:12.10. It’s the fourth-fastest time in Northern Nevada this year. The three teams ahead of them — Manogue, Reno and McQueen — ran their times in the first two weeks of April.