Asa Demmert to Run With the Skyhawks

Category: Local Sports
Created on Wednesday, 06 May 2020 14:06
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Sentinel Staff Writer

After years of running track with the Sitka High Wolves, senior Asa Demmert has signed to run track and cross country with the Division II program at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.
“It felt good,” Demmert said in an interview. “I had talked with the coach for a while and I felt good about the decision.”

Asa Demmert races in September in Totem Park. (Sentinel file photo)

That degree of comfort was backed up by conversations he had with another Sitkan runner at Fort Lewis, David Wilcox.
“Everything he had to say was good,” Demmert said.
A lifelong Sitkan, Demmert has run track every year since he was a freshman. At first he tried to be a sprinter, without much luck. He transitioned to distance running as a sophomore, and excelled.
In the state tournament as a junior, he ran his personal record mile in 4:45.
“It was good enough that I felt like I should start running in the off-season,” he said.
Wolves track and field coach Jeremy Strong described Demmert as a hard worker.
“He puts a lot of work in. He is a real hard worker, very coachable. He’s the kind of kid you want to have on the team,” Strong said.
In his first three years of high school, Demmert played basketball as well as running track.
But this season he chose not to play basketball, worried about potential injuries, wanting to put more time into running.

“After I realized I could run in college, I realized it would be best to run before track season,” he said.

His stunning sub-five minute mile at the end of his junior year made him look at cross country a bit more seriously, too.
Wolves’ cross country coach Shasta Smith remembered that “somewhere during his junior year of track, I could see he was becoming a little more receptive of the idea (of running cross country).” Smith wrote a running program for Demmert to train with over the summer.
During the summer of 2019, Demmert said, “I finally realized how much I enjoy running.” He set his sights on the cross country squad, which already had a star in Dominic Baciocco.
“I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t leave Dominic alone as the only senior,” Demmert said. “I started going on easy runs, running as many hills as I could. I didn’t know what to expect.”
When the cross country season opened in August, Demmert ran near the front of the pack.
At an early-season meet in Juneau, he broke 17 minutes in his five kilometer race, clocking in at 16:59.
“It was my first cross country race, I actually broke 17, which was very surprising, because that’s a big accomplishment.”
His coach agreed.
“That was a fantastic debut,” she said.
Strong, who also works as the cross country assistant coach, was happy with Demmert’s performance in his only year running cross country.
“For only having one year, he really had a strong impact on the team, in terms of performance and the way he went about going through the season,” Strong said
“His potential is so untapped, the sky is the limit,” Smith said. “In running, you work your behind off and your time will show that, and I think Asa found peace in that. A comfort in knowing there will be direct results in this grind.”
Citing Demmert’s initial reluctance to run cross country, Smith said “he almost never ran cross country, and what a shame that would have been... The biggest victory was just having him do what we knew he always could.”