Bange leaving impact on track and field program
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The transition was not easy for Asia Bange.
The Marshall track and field standout came from Columbus, Ohio, one of the largest cities in the United States to Huntington, West Virginia. But through all the changes for Bange, one thing remained constant— she was dominant on the track.
Bange, a senior hurdler and physical education major from Walnut Ridge High School, has ran some of the best times of her career as the women’s track and field team is right in the meat of its schedule.
“I want to say this has been one of my best seasons as far as producing,” Bange said. “This year in indoor conference. I did not do as good as I did last year. I was third last season and fourth this season, which was not bad because I was still running and training good.
“This year, overall, I have gotten faster than I have ever been and just training with the short sprinters and some of the long 400 girls. I am just working to get better every week. By the conference meet, I would like to be running 13.5 or 13.4 in the 100 hurdles, and I just would like to get all-conference.”
Bange has been on a roll, collecting wins throughout the season in the 100 meter hurdles, including one April 9 in the Hilltopper Relays hosted by Western Kentucky University.
The senior smoked the field at a 13.78 pace, good for the second-best time of her career. Bange hit 13.70 in the Florida Relays April 2 in Gainesville, Florida.
Bange earned her second straight win Saturday in the 100-meter hurdles, at a pace of 13.75 seconds in the Caramount Classic. She was the only runner who completed the event below the 14 second mark.
The Conference-USA Outdoor Championship meet May 12-15 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee hosted by Middle Tennessee State University.
“I think overall, as a team, everyone can (presonal record) to end the season,” Bange said. “We can shatter records across the board in every event, but we just have to put our mind to it and do it. We can’t overthink everything. And I think a lot of times when we get to meets, girls let some things get inside their heads and crash.
“Track is a physical and mental sport where you have to really think about everything that is going on. If everybody just comes out and do what they have to do, I think we can do top 10 in the conference and crash the record with the school points in the meet. Everybody just has to play their part.”
Bange said she never envisioned running hurdles until one of her high school coaches at Walnut Ridge threw her into a shuttle hurdle relay during a meet and saw her potential. In fact, she said track was not her first love as Bange was a three-sport star in high school, also playing volleyball and basketball.
“I enjoyed volleyball more,” Bange said. “But I was just doing better at track. My senior year, I decided to give everything else but track up and focused on what could get me the furthest.”
The vision of going further than high school in a sport was a reality for Bange after her performance in the Ohio High School State Championship meet, where Bange took home a state title in the 100 hurdles in front of many college coaches, including Marshall’s.
“My high school state meet is where I found Marshall,” Bange said. “One of the older coaches had come to the meet, and I won my state meet. Around that time, Akron and Kent State were talking to me about really going there.
“Then Marshall came out of nowhere and asked me what do they have to do to get me running in green. I told them, ‘Well, I need the most money.’ From there, I connected with the coaches and the girls that were here, and I knew I wanted to go here.”
Bange said moving to a smaller town was initially tough.
“Coming from Columbus to Huntington was very different,” Bange said. “One of my teachers from Walnut Ridge grew up around this area, and he’s big into hunting and fishing. He kept telling me ‘You’ll love it; you’ll love it’.
“I had a really good relationship with him, and he told me that I would be able to adapt to places good and you’ll like it. I went off that and the feel of the team, but it was really different. Columbus was more of a city and more stuff to do. And then I got here and realized there wasn’t much to do at all. But that is okay.”
Although Bange will graduate in May with her bachelor’s degree, she is considering staying at Marshall for graduate work. Wherever she goes after graduation, one thing is for certain – she will forever be remembered in Marshall track and field history.
“Graduation coming up is a good feeling,” Bange said. “I’m ready to graduate. As everybody says, ‘College goes quick and it did, but I am ready to graduate. I am thinking about coming back to Marshall and doing my graduate work. But I am not sure yet.
“My time on the track team has been good overall. We had some adversity a couple years ago, but everything has been good at this point. I have been producing each year even with minor injuries and stuff. I have been able to contribute to the team with my times and being a leader on the team has been good.”
Jake Flatley be contacted at [email protected]