Memories in the sand

Published On: Apr 02 2013 07:17:12 PM CDT
Ashton May Invitational
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

Every time Bailey Alston jumps, she's reminded of those that have jumped before her in the very same sand.

"There's no doubt that I'll be jumping for her. I jump for her every meet," Alston said.

"She's kind of following in Ashton's footsteps right now," said UW-L Women's Track and Field Coach Pat Haley.

An all-American sprinter and long-jumper for the Eagles, Ashton May graduated in 2010. She became an assistant coach at UW-L and took Alston under her wing.

"I do think that sometimes she did see a little bit of her in me," Alston said.

Ashton May died in a car crash in September.

"It's hard to believe I guess. You don't really want to believe that it happened," Alston said.

"It'll be hard to ever forget that day," Healy said. "One thing I remember that will always stick with me, is right after we found out, a lot of the athletes met right here on the track."

The team held a candlelight vigil in her honor. This weekend, UW-L is hosting an Invitational in her honor: the first annual Ashton May Invitational.

"It's going to be kind of a special day as far as the first women's long jump that takes place in those long jump pits," Healy said.

"I'll definitely be rooting on Bailey because I know Ashton will be there to give her a little help," said senior Jena Weidel, who competes in the heptathlon.

"All these pits that you're surrounded by, all this sand has so much meaning," Alston said. "Knowing that she's jumped in this very sand, all that good stuff, her memory will always live on."

The competition starts Friday. There will be a special ceremony Saturday afternoon, which May's family will be in attendance for.

May was also a teacher at Holmen Middle School.