By Richard Smith
West Valley Preps
Every March it returned — each time in a different form — like a recurring nightmare for Asiah Fields.
As a freshman the Liberty star sprinter tore her ACL in that month just after her breakout performance. While working her way back from that as a sophomore, Fields pulled her hamstring. This year saw two March maladies, pneumonia and another pulled hamstring.
But by this year, the junior had reason to wonder if she would ever enter state at full strength. In a sense, she is still wondering because she was not at her peak for the Division II 200- and 400-meter dashes May 6.
For once, though, she came in close to full speed. And she left with her first gold, winning the 400 with a time of 56.39.
“March is that month for me. I was trying to get in the mindset of how I could overcome it,” Fields said. “It was long awaited to finally become state champion because from my freshman year I was a girl to watch out for. Finally getting able for this opportunity to have a title of state champion lifted a weight off my shoulders.”
The state finals were on a windy day at Mesa Community College that played havoc with most of the best Arizona athletes.
While the win took most personal and state records off the table for sprinters, Liberty coach Bob Morris said the gusts were ideal for his powerful sprinter.
“When she was at state and the wind was blowing so hard I told somebody, ‘If she’s leading by the third curve, there’s nobody that can catch her.’ She’s so strong that she’ll power right through that wind,” Coach Morris said.
He said it felt even better to see Field win, knowing the time she devotes to track. While several peers just picked up the sport to start high school, she said she has been running since age 9. Her father, Brad, is the Lions sprint coach.
That early start in the sport allowed Fields to burst on the scene like a supernova as a freshman. She finished second at the Chandler Rotary invitational with what still is a personal best of 55.92 and placed fourth in the 200 at the state’s top meet.
Fields had one more meet that March and tore her ACL. Recovering from that, and her first hamstring injuries robbed her of a chance to compete with, and team up with, 2016 seniors Lashira Tremble and Christine Williford last season.
Tremble won the Division I 100 meters while Williford dominated the 400 and 800.
“I learned that you always need to be positive and to not worry about things that happened in the past,” Fields said. “Watching them was amazing but bittersweet because I wish I could have competed with them.”
Fields said she started to feel like herself again at the Sun Angel Classic at ASU, finishing second in the 400 with a time of 55.99.
Her 400 was on point by state. However she believes she can greatly improve on her 200 time in the high 25 second range and fourth place finish.
“To have something as fluke as what happened her freshman year and basically a re-ocurrance of that her sophomore year, this year was so gratifying,” Coach Morris said. “She might be faster at Great Southwest because she is behind about a month from the pneumonia.”
Now, with the injuries and illnesses behind her, Fields can concentrate on bigger goals.
She’ll run in the Great Southwest Invitational in Albuquerque the first weekend in June, and compete on the USATF circuit for the Spartan Speedsters club.
Fields said her goals are a time under 55 seconds in the 400 and under 24 seconds in the 200.
“We always look at being maybe 20 or 30 percent better than you were the year before. Boy, if that comes through then … I hate to say anything, knock on wood,” Coach Morris said.
The coach said Fields has a naturally bubbly personality and it was tough to see the setbacks wear on her. But after a patient year, her confidence and smile have been restored.
Fields said she wants to study dentistry in college, and the ideal place would be on the tracks of Big 12 country.
“If I could go anywhere, I would go somewhere in Texas. I just love it there and I’m trying to get away from Arizona a little bit. I’m a native and I would like to experience a different state,” Fields said.