Powers set the example for Sea Kings

CdM junior, who finished 10th individually at state, was team's top runner all season long.

December 03, 2010|By Matt Szabo,
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

In a couple of weeks, Corona del Mar High junior Ashlee Powers will celebrate her 17th birthday.

Her cross country coach, Bill Sumner, will turn 63 on the same day, Dec. 22.

Powers can call her fellow Capricorn to wish him a happy birthday, but the call itself will be nothing new.

Powers has had Sumner on speed-dial ever since she started running for the Sea Kings.

"I'll call him several times [during] the week," Powers said. "We don't go a day without talking. I always want to know what I can do, because I really want to meet my full potential."

The Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week is on her way for CdM. She just finished a successful cross country season Saturday, earning all-state honors after taking 10th place in Division III at the CIF State Championships in Fresno.

Powers said she had a bit of an off day after crossing the finish line in 18 minutes, 11 seconds. Some outside of the program might say the Sea Kings had an off year after failing to win the state title for the third straight year, but Sumner called the team's fifth-place result "fabulous."


But a little perspective helps. The Sea Kings are young, with just one senior in Devon Hoppe, the team's second finisher Saturday. Considering the team's second runner much of the year, Ellen Naruse, was an emerging freshman who was new to running, CdM had no reason to hang its collective head.

Powers, a team captain, never hung hers. She was the unquestioned No. 1 runner for CdM all year long, and her consistency benefitted the Sea Kings. The fact that she could finish 10th in the state on an off day surprises nobody on the team, least of all Sumner.

"She was it," Sumner said. "She led the team the whole year. You can't ask her to do too much; she leaves practice asking what else she can do. She's been our hardest worker, and it's paid off."

Her sophomore year, she was bothered by shin splints the whole season and missed some meets. She said it was frustrating at times, after a successful freshman season. At state finals, Powers was just sixth on the team.

The Powers who everybody heard about last year was Ashlee's older sister, Melanie, who now runs at Wake Forest. Melanie finished third in the state individually in Division III.

Melanie is the more low-key sister who would actually say "Excuse me" during a race when trying to pass an opponent. Ashlee is the taller Powers who showed her more competitive side early on for the Sea Kings.

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