Six state medals for Sophia Ashner

By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 6/10/20

Setting a standard.

That is what Dutchgirl cross country runner Sophia Ashner did over the past six years during her running days at Owensville Middle and Owensville High School.

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Six state medals for Sophia Ashner

Posted

Setting a standard.

That is what Dutchgirl cross country runner Sophia Ashner did over the past six years during her running days at Owensville Middle and Owensville High School.

Assistant cross country coach David Koppelmann recalled Ashner as part of a special group starting his coaching career at OHS.

“Sophie was part of the class that started my cross country coaching career,” Koppelmann said. “I couldn’t have walked into a more special group of kids. They were small in number and in size. But they ultimately all ran with heart and you could see it.”

Throughout her middle school days, Ashner finished no worse than third place in 15 races.

During her seventh-grade season, she was able to complete the Gasconade County hat trick by winning the Hermann Invitational, Owensville Invitational and the Four Rivers Conference (FRC) middle school girls race held at Owensville Golf Course.

“From the first day of practice (back in middle school), it was easy to see the special talent Sophie had,” Koppelmann said. “She won 10 races, took second four times and third (place) for her entire middle school career. There aren’t many with a better record than that.”

After winning five of seven races during her eighth-grade season, Ashner looked to start her high school cross country career as good as her middle school days.

Placing no worse than fifth prior to the annual FRC meet at St. Clair, Ashner looked to make it three FRC titles in a row.

Winning another FRC crown as a freshman, Ashner then added a district championship from the Osage County Fairgrounds in Linn to an already impressive freshman season.

Capping it at the 2016 MSHSAA Cross Country Championships at Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City, Ashner just missed the top 10 with a 14th-place finish in the Class 3 girls race good for her first of four state medals in the sport.

“I hope her accomplishments inspire other athletes to try to work to not only be the best at Owensville, or the FRC, but to be one of the best in the state (of Missouri),” Koppelmann said.

During her sophomore campaign, Ashner duplicated a feat achieved during her seventh-grade season.

Completing the Gasconade County hat trick yet again, she capped it with her second FRC individual title at OGC.

After a district runner-up finish at Linn, Ashner went on to place fourth in the state in Class 3 as a sophomore at Oak Hills.

Outside of a 13th-place finish at Rim Rock, Ashner finished inside the top 10 the rest of her junior season.

This included another FRC title only this time at Loutre Shore Country Club north of Hermann.

Earning another silver medal at districts in Bowling Green, Ashner earned her third state cross country medal in as many years with an eighth-place finish.

Enduring a rough September to start her senior season this past fall, Ashner started the October portion of the year winning the Owensville Invitational held on the R-2 campus.

One week later at Maramec Springs State Park near St. James, Ashner was denied a sixth straight FRC title by Union’s Ella Coppinger.

Bouncing back from that, Ashner took fourth in districts at Big Driver before earning her fourth state medal placing 11th in the 2019 MSHSAA Championships at Gans Creek in Columbia.

On the track, Ashner earned two states medals as a freshman placing third in the 1600-meter run in 5:16.16 breaking the school record. She also helped the 4x400m relay team to an eighth-place finish and another medal.

“Her days were great on the track too,” Koppelmann said. “She was also a key piece to our 4x800-meter relay teams running a great leg to help get the team to state last spring.”

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