A running passion: Meet the man who is dominating cross country one stride at a time


Senior Asher Propst collects his thoughts before a meet. Propst proceeded to set a school record at the meet.

Caitlin Hall and Gabe Fryling

As senior Asher Propst goes around the last turn, his legs are giving out on him. He can see the finish line, but he isn’t sure if he can make it. With every step sending a shock of pain up his legs, it feels like he is running on nails. Every breath hurts, as if his lungs are on fire. Everything ahead of him is a blur, faded together. As he approaches the finish line, the red numbers above the line begin to come into focus…15:09…15:10… He puts his head down and takes his last breath as he crosses before it all goes black.

     Propst is one of the state’s fastest cross country runners. By setting a new conference record for the 5k at Hamilton County Crossroads meet on September 24th, adding to his impressive list of accomplishments. He has been a varsity runner throughout high school, already competing at state twice and is working for a third time this year. Yet his success did not start in high school, as he’s been running for a large portion of his life. 

     “I’ve been running since third or fourth grade. I started out with shorter distances and then I tried out cross country and learned I was better at the longer stuff,”  Propst said. 

     Propst’s commitment to running is indicated from his participation as a four-year varsity runner, and this hard work has not gone unnoticed. His fellow runners admire him and all he has accomplished. 

     “Asher is the senior team captain and someone that the whole team looks up to. He is extremely fast and will be running at the next level in college next year,” said junior Caden Click. “He’s a great leader for this team and it’s definitely [going to] be sad when he leaves after this year.”

     Propst’s teammates have expressed how he has made a lasting mark on the cross country team through his high school career. His personality has been noticed by his coaches as well, elevating him to a leadership role for the team. 

     “He’s so dedicated. He’s a great leader by example, and he’s a very good guy, nice guy,” said cross country head coach Bill Kenley. 

     Propst has spent a lot of time being dedicated to bettering himself as a runner, and as he has been through many teams and has seen them change over time. Yet one thing that continues to be the highlight of his week occurs off the course. 

     “We have spaghetti dinners on Friday nights before races where we all meet together at someone’s house and eat together. It’s been a tradition that has been going on as long as I’ve been a runner here at the high school.” Propst said.

      Their extended time together has helped the team become very close, developing a close bond as a team, which has made the year more enjoyable for the runners and also created improved results, says Propsts teammates.

      “The team culture has been great this year, we all get along well and we all [want to] do well as a team which makes it more fun,” said Click. “[At] Friday morning practices we always have a theme, and we go get donuts before school, which is something that I think has made us all closer as a team.”

      The close team culture was a part of Kenley’s goals for the team, as he works to teach the boys more than how to improve as a runner yet how to improve as a person. He values a team bond between every member, regardless of age. He wants to develop them into better men while also helping them become a better team.

      “Relationships are the thing that we want to build and keep. Everybody is eventually [going to] slow down. It’s fun to run fast but when you’re in college and you’re living your grownup life it’s important to have those good friends,” said Kenley. 

      The dedication to the sport has seen by how the team excelled this year. They are already HCC champions and rank within the top 5 in the state, and are hoping for a chance to win a state title. 

      “The team has been doing better than we were expected to do…we are anywhere around third to fifth in the state,” said Propst. “I think that we will keep moving up in the ranks.”

      Yet the most noticeable of traits the team has is their close culture. From taking photos together to going out to eat after a meet, the team spends hours together. It’s what Propst says he’ll miss most after the season ends, and has made his senior year running much more memorable. 

      “Culture is a big part of competing well, and [while] cross country may seem like an individual sport, there is also a big team factor when you’re running the course with guys you know as it makes it easier to run together, and we all push each other to get better,” Propst said.