Salute to Seniors: Ashley Messineo Q&A

Ashley Messineo of El Toro qualified for State in the 1600m. (courtesy of Ashley Messineo)

MileSplitCA offered seniors a platform to share their stories and experiences either in Q&A format or story form. This is one in that series. Click here for details on how to share your story.

Name: Ashley Messineo

School: El Toro High School

Event: Distances

Q: What was your most memorable race/moment?

  • During cross country season 2017 it was exciting to win my heat at CIF Southern Section Prelims.
  • This past track season, 2018, at the Southern Section Masters meet, I qualified for the State meet in the 1600 meters.

Q: Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

  • Southern Section is competitive, and in several big meets a ran with the Great Oaks girls. They are young and talented and great competitors who brought out the best in me.

Q: What was your greatest accomplishment?

  • For Cross Country: El Toro Girls Team finishing a school-best 5th in State, and individually being able to push through any tempo workout.
  • For Track: El Toro Girls Team winning the Rated 4x800 relay at Mt. SAC Relays this past season and individually, advancing to the State meet in the 1600 meters.

Q: If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?

  • I would stress less before competition, believe in myself and have more fun. I should have relaxed more and stressed less. I found when I did, I had better results. This seems to be a common trait among the runners I have raced.

Q: What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

  • Fortunately, I have never been injured or missed practice or competition. The biggest obstacle was balancing academics, practice, competition, clubs, and community service.

Q: What will you miss the most?

  • I will miss my teammates. I love the girls who have been fantastic teammates. We have bonded so well this past season and have had great success. I wish them the best for the new season. Coach Ken Chai has been a strong influence. He developed my talent which resulted in my advancing to the State meets in cross country and track. Coach Chai has been a great mentor and impact during my high school career.
  • Lastly, I will miss our variety of running trails that surround El Toro High School.

Q: What advice would you give to younger athletes?

  • My advice is to stress less and enjoy the experience. Be patient, especially Senior year, enjoy the journey and believe in yourself. Do all the little things Coach emphasizes (proper eating, sleeping, hydration, warm ups/cool downs, and complete your mileage).
  • When all else fails, do what Coach told you to do in the first place.

 Q: What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?

  • Coach Ken Chai developed me into an athlete. He always believed in me and pushed me in a positive way because he knew what I was capable. I love running distance and Coach influenced my passion. Coach Chai promotes family, school, and then athletics. I will run as a member of my college teams and running will be a lifetime passion.

Q: What are your college plans?

  • I will attend Rice University, Houston, Texas studying a pre-med track, and running cross country and distance in track as an Owl. I am looking forward to my new teammates and training with Rice Coach Jim Bevan. I am very excited as Rice University has a fantastic academic and student life reputation and I look forward to success on the course and track with my future teammates and benefiting from Coach Bevan's knowledge and experience.

Q: Who would you like to say thank you to?

  • I thank my Dad for supporting me, giving me what I needed, and getting me to the team bus or driving me to meets, even when it meant waking at 5:00 AM.
  • I thank my teammates for their love and support, for having fun while training and competing, enjoying summer training camps, and spending time together. We have a great team bond this past year and had great success during cross country winning the league and county title and finishing 5th at State and winning three relay events during track season.
  • And of course, thank-you Coach Ken Chai for everything!

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

  • To my teammates, I will miss you and follow your continued success. Break my records and I hope you advance further at State. Enjoy yourself and be patient, especially during your Senior Year.
  • To Coach Ken Chai, thank-you for everything: for your support, passion, dedication, and for believing in me and developing my talent.


Ashley Messineo (7) in the 1600m prelim at the State Meet. (Pat Rhames photo)