NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

February 1, 2014

Little making waves

Seabrook's Ashante Little a standout athlete, mentor at Wheaton College

(Continued)

She said she is far from reaching her peak, although her hurdles result two weeks ago at the Ramapo College Indoor Select, 8.85 seconds, is the second-fastest in Division III this season, as is the Lyons’ 4X400 result from BU.

“It’s still early yet,” she explained. “(The Terrier Invitational) was only our third meet of the season. The last two years, my PRs (personal records) have come at the very end of the season.

“We’ve started off strong, ahead of last year,” she added. “But there is still a lot of room for improvement. We’re in a good position. I’m so excited to see what happens the rest of the season.”

Realizing potential

Wheaton is a storied Division III program which has produced 45 national champions. The Lyons are ranked No. 10 in this week’s U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll.

Winning the NCAA Championship wasn’t something Little set out to do when she chose to attend Wheaton. She had a stellar career at Winnacunnet High School, but she figured track and field in college would just be something she did outside of classes.

That all changed her sophomore year when Dave Cusano was named the head coach. “I definitely didn’t imagine my college career would turn out the way it has,” Little said. “He has made me realize my potential and that I could accomplish some real big feats. He has had a huge impact on my career and experience at Wheaton.”

Winning the NCAA title in the 400 meter dash (54.79) last spring is a story in itself. How she won it was spectacular.

Little competed at the NCAA Championship in four events and earned All-American honors in all four. She also finished third in the 100 meter hurdles (14.31) and was a member of the 4X100 meter relay team which took third in 46.85 seconds; and the 4X400 team that placed fifth in 3:46.75.

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