Ashley Myers didn’t worry too much about the pain in her stomach until it wouldn’t go away.
That was in late February.
After a few days of increasing discomfort, and not being able to train for track and field, she went in for tests and discovered she had something worse than a stomach ache. She had a bad gall bladder.
On March 2, she had it removed — and hasn’t trained since.
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But the Franklin College senior plans to start soon, with the goal of qualifying for the NCAA Division III Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships in her signature event, the 800-meter run.
She views the surgery as an annoying but minor setback.
“It’s very easy to get back into training,” Myers said. “I’ve never come back into training with a missing organ, but I’m expecting to get right back into things and hopefully have a quick recovery and get the mileage up.”
If Myers bounces back as quickly as she plans, her objective is to follow the postseason footsteps of former Grizzlies teammate and best friend Anna Murdock, who won the Div. III national championship last season in the 800 run.
A former Indian Creek standout, Murdock won the national title as a senior in 2015. Myers, a former Edinburgh standout, is attempting to qualify for what would be her first trip to nationals.
Myers won the 800 at last month’s Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Championships and was attempting to qualify for the indoor nationals when her symptoms came on. She missed a qualifying meet because of the surgery but has turned her attention to the outdoor season.
Although she still can’t run, she plans to do some light conditioning in the pool this week with an eye on competing in the Grizzlies’ March 24 meet at Anderson — the first step in her bid to qualify for nationals.
“That would be great if I could qualify for nationals in outdoors, especially since I didn’t get the chance indoor to do it,” said Myers, who will miss Saturday’s season-opener at the Rose-Hulman Invitational. “I’ll have about a month-and-a-half to train for (nationals) after I get back into the swing of things.”
A four-year standout in cross-country and track, Myers is winding down her best season at Franklin.
In cross-country, she finished fifth at the HCAC Championships and was twice named the HCAC Women’s Runner of the Week.
In track, she claimed her first-ever conference championships by winning the 800 and the mile at the HCAC Indoor Meet.
But those aren’t her only events.
At any given meet, Myers competes in relays, the javelin, the steeplechase or the triple-jump. She usually participates in up to four events, making her one of the Grizzlies’ most versatile performers.
Franklin coach Paul Sargent attributes Myers’ versatility to her multisport high school resume. At Edinburgh, she competed in volleyball, basketball, track and cheerleading.
“She’s more an athlete than a lot of kids we’ve had,” Sargent said. “She only picked up the steeplechase last year for us because we had a hole and she can score some points.
“She’s a workhorse for us, and we love her for that.”
She was the valedictorian at Edinburgh and now a college honors student who plans to teach elementary education after college.
But her focus now is on her recovery and unfinished business in track.
She hopes to resume running by the weekend.
“I’ll probably start out with low mileage,” she said. “I’m a high-mileage runner, but hopefully I’ll be able to build that up pretty quickly.
“That’s what I’m planning on.”
Name: Ashley Myers
College: Franklin College
Sports: Track and field, cross-country
High school: Edinburgh (2012)
Experience: Four-year varsity performer in cross-country and indoor and outdoor track and field
Hobbies: Photography, hiking
Favorite TV show: “Grey’s Anatomy”
Favorite movie: “Cinderella Story”
Major: Elementary education
Parents: Tim and Lori Myers