Local Olympic Spotlight: New Jersey Native Ronnie Ash Heads to Rio Looking For Redemption
New Jersey native Ronnie Ash is hoping for a chance at redemption on the world’s biggest stage in Rio, after failing to do so in last year’s world championship race.
In the semifinal of last year’s world championships, Ronnie Ash was expected to qualify for the final of the 110m hurdles, but was disqualified on a controversial false start call. It was so close that he refused to leave the track, thinking that he shouldn’t be disqualified. However, he was ushered off and was unable to compete, making the Olympics a chance at redemption for the hurdler.
He secured his second chance in the Olympics during the U.S. Trials, when he finished second behind Oregon wide receiver Devon Allen in the 110m hurdles. The second place finish even placed him ahead of defending Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Aires Merrit.
Ash, 28, finished second at the U.S. national championships in 2015, which gave him the bid for the world championships. His career best, a unofficial and wind-aided sub-13 second run, would be the fastest this year, showing how is capable of being one of the best in the world.
Despite only posting the eighth best time so far in 2016, it’s still very possible for Ronnie Ash to find himself with a medal once the Rio Olympics conclude. There is stiff competition, including from fellow American Allen. Defending Olympic bronze medalist and world champion silver medalist Hansle Parchment of Jamaica should compete once again, as well as his fellow countryman Omar McLeod. Ash won’t have to face off against the defending world champion Sergey Shubenkov of Russia following the doping ban.
It will still be a tough field to fight through, but Ash can do it. Hurdles are consistently one of the more unpredictable track events so anything can happen, which he can attest to following his result in the championships in Beijing last year. He has more than enough talent to do it.
Having only started running and hurdling during his senior season in high school when he moved to North Carolina, Ash wasn’t expected to do much, and didn’t expect to go to college until Bethune-Cookman University offered him a scholarship, and he took off. After a great sophomore season, he transferred to Oklahoma University where he fine tuned his craft even more. After setting Oklahoma school records in the 60m and 110m hurdles, he graduated with a degree in sociology.
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