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Marshall’s Ashton Schnaser signs National Letter of Intent to compete in cross country, track and field at the University of Sioux Falls

Photo by Sam Thiel Marshall’s Ashton Schnaser signs his National Letter of Intent Thursday to compete in cross country and track and field at the University of Sioux Falls.

MARSHALL — Up until a couple of years ago, Ashton Schnaser had never officially run competitively. That all changed when he joined the Marshall cross country team and, after three successful seasons, Schnaser decided he wasn’t ready to put away the running shoes just yet. The Marshall senior signed his National Letter of Intent on Thursday to compete in cross country and track and field at the University of Sioux Falls.

Schnaser said this is something he’s been wanting to do for a long time and is excited to get the next chapter started.

“I’ve always wanted to do something in college and now I get to run,” Schnaser said. “I want to thank Doug [Petersen] for giving me this opportunity, I’m just so excited to go in the fall and start working.”

Schnaser added that Marshall boys cross country coach Brian Leibfried was the one who helped convince him to join the sport and is grateful for what Leibfried has been able to help him accomplish.

“I actually started running my sophomore year and coach Leibfried got me into it,” Schnaser said. “And here I am running in college, so he’s really pushed me to be the person I am today.”

Schnaser also said his teammates have had a huge impact on him and they push him to improve each day.

“They’ve always been pushing me and we always have super fun practices making sure we’re doing the best we can,” Schnaser said. “And then just having fun times at meets competing.”

Schnaser said what drew him to USF was the proximity of the campus and its overall feel. He added he plans to major in exercise science.

“I’ve always gone to Sioux Falls as a kid and I like the area and I just think USF is a good fit for me,” Schnaser said. “It’s a nice college in a good spot.”

For the past few years, Schnaser has been a key contributor to Marshall’s success on both the track and course. Last fall, Schnaser had two Top 10 finishes for the cross country team with an average time of 19:01 and then placed 99th at the Section 2AA meet.

USF had its fall cross country season canceled due to COVID-19, but placed third at the NSIC Championships, fifth at the NCAA DII Central Region Championships and 23rd at the NCAA DII Championships in 2019. The track and field team will be competing at the NSIC Championships this weekend in Mankato.

Before he heads to Sioux Falls, Schnaser will hopefully have one final spring with the Marshall track and field team. Schnaser said he’s looking forward to getting out and running again and potentially competing against more teams.

“Just the opportunity to run again,” Schnaser said. “We haven’t run since the fall and cross country was a little limited because we could run with only two other teams, so hopefully for track we can get out and race against more competitive people and teams.”

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