“I love the way that running makes me feel. I love the accomplishments and life skills I gain from being on the team. I love my teammates, who have become like family to me,” said senior track star Ashley Nicola.
Nicola has been participating in track and field since her freshman year at Shippensburg University. She has many impressive accomplishments under her belt, including a time of 12.71 seconds in the 100-meter dash, 26.27 in the 200-meter dash and 18 feet, 1/4 inch in the long jump.
Nicola’s favorite thing about the women’s track and field team is her teammates. She has created close bonds with many of these young women and she views them as if they were a “bunch of sisters.”
“We feed off of each other’s energy and it motivates us. We are there for one another on and off the track,” she said.
Nicola grew to have a love for track as a result of hearing how much her mother and aunt enjoyed participating in the sport when they were in high school. Not surprisingly, Nicola was eager to be involved in sports when she reached high school. During her time at Jim Thorpe High School, she ran track and field for four years and ran cross country for one year. Nicola also played high school volleyball for a year. She is the first member of her family to have the opportunity to compete in a college sport.
According to Nicola, the most challenging aspect of playing a college sport is balancing responsibilities on a tight schedule. For many students, college is tough and a new layer of difficulty is added to the mix when one has to balancing sports and all of the other associated tasks.
This is not easy for Ashley, but she does it all for her three younger siblings. She firmly believes that school is No. 1 priority because if you do not succeed in the classroom, you cannot participate on the track. For these reasons, she advises every student athlete to master time management.
“School can be especially stressful if you are in a sport so I think setting some time aside for yourself and your friends is very important,” Nicola said.
In these free moments, Nicola enjoys spending time with her girlfriend, hiking, being outside, crafts and doing art projects and cooking. Upon graduation, she wants to maintain her healthy lifestyle through working out and eating right.
She is going to chase the warm weather with her girlfriend Sam Beckerleg, and embark on her creative destiny. Whether she becomes a professional athlete, cosmetologist, or entrepreneur, she will always be shooting for the stars.