Throughout the 2017-18 season, U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our new interview series “Getting to know…”
Name: Ashley Whiteman
School: University of Alberta
Sport: Track and field
Year of eligibility: Third
Hometown: Devon, Alta.
- What attracted you to the University of Alberta?
It was definitely the program, facilities and people involved. I had the opportunity to train with U of A track athletes for a few years before deciding on where I wanted to go to university. I made a lot of friends, great memories, and not to mention its close to home! A major plus for me and I have never regretted that choice. I’ve had the best years of my life here.
- What’s your favourite memory, and your greatest achievement as a U SPORTS student-athlete?
One of my favourite memories as a U SPORTS student-athlete would definitely be achieving a 300m national gold in 2016. A self-proving moment in my rookie year and first national competition in university, I’ll never forget how surreal it was. That weekend, the Pandas 4x200m also won gold and 4x400 bronze! So blessed to run with some seriously fast ladies and we claimed another 4x200 national gold in 2017. Other highlights have been Pandas Outstanding Female Rookie of the Year in 2016, Canada West Women’s Track Athlete of the Year in 2017, and being a three-time First Team All-Canadian. Top it all off with a few Canada West banners for us Pandas in 2016 and 2017 and I would say things are going well!
- Where are you hoping your path will take you after university?
After university, I hope to be somewhere with new challenges every day. I love the outdoors and because I’m studying the environment it will most definitely need to involve both of those things! In addition, lots of travel, running, family, and good food.
- Who’s had the greatest influence on your athletic career?
My coach Rob Fisher for sure. I started track full time after high school and he showed me the ropes. My teammates have also had a huge impact on my athletic experience. They push me to be better and are some of my closest friends. I wouldn't be the athlete I am today without their support or that of my family and every coach I have had the opportunity to work with.
- Who is someone in the sports world, past or present, with whom you’d love to have dinner with? Why?
Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson! Less for the specific sports he was involved in and more for the person he is and where he came from. He’s hardworking, funny and gives back where it’s due. I love his attitude and how he goes about life so I think dinner with him would be nothing but fun.
- What is your pre-race ritual? Do you have any superstitions/idiosyncrasies around preparing yourself for a race?
Honestly I can’t say I really have a pre-race ritual. I like to be at the track at least two hours before race time to cheer on any teammates and get into the atmosphere. Then I’m in my spikes 15 minutes before race time and ready to go.
- What’s your go to song to get pumped up for a practice or a race?
I honestly don't listen to music as I warm up, I like to be able to hear everything going on around me and so that I don’t get run over by anyone flying down the track. Some meets don’t even allow headphones to be worn, so I just stick with any music playing the background. I appreciate anything you can dance to.
- What’s your favourite social media account to follow?
100 per cent National Geographic.
- If you could try another sport, what would it be and why?
Probably stock car racing, it would be so much fun. My dad used to race in CASCAR (the Canadian version of NASCAR) and I remember traveling, basically growing up at the track and always being around fast cars. Clearly, I like speed.
- What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you as an athlete?
This is a good one. I was opening my outdoor season at Azusa Pacific University in California in a 400-meter race, and I had taken the spikes out of my shoes to get through airport security. Ultimately, they failed to make it back into my shoes for the race and I only noticed once I was back up in the stands after I was finished. I had ran an entire race without spikes in my shoes! I was so embarrassed and lets just say now I always double check. I didn’t come in last though, so that was cool.