One Final Stretch

May 25, 2007

By Scott MacDonald
Georgia Tech Sports Information

When she first reached campus, she was dubbed ‘The New Kidd On the Block.’ Now, Ashlee Kidd may have several different nicknames, but whatever you call her, NEW certainly is not one of the adjectives that comes to mind.

“We were excited about Ashlee becoming a part of our program out of high school and we knew she was a talented individual who would add great depth to our sprints,” said Tech coach Alan Drosky. “But early in her career with us, it was apparent she would do a whole lot more than add depth. In fact, she would develop into one of our most decorated student-athletes in women’s track and field history.”

Kidd, a senior from St. Petersburg, Fla., is now a six-time All-American for the Yellow Jackets and won consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference Indoor Most Valuable Performer honors (2006, ’07). She is an 11-time ACC champion, including capturing the indoor and outdoor 400-meter races, along with the 4×100-meter relay and indoor 200 meters this season.

“I never thought I would have this much success,” said Kidd. “To compete at this high of level, and to be able to compete on the international scene, winning the USATF Junior National Championship in the 400 (meters) and being able to compete at the IAAF World Junior Championships.”

There, Kidd captured a bronze medal for Team USA in 2004. She then competed on the Under 23 Team in the NACAC in ’06 and helped Team USA capture a gold medal in the 4×400-meter relay.

“That was pretty special,” said Kidd. “We set a new championships record in the process.”

Back on Tech’s campus, Kidd continues to shine. She had a hand in 33 points scored at the ACC Outdoor Championships, winning the 400 meters, and helped the Yellow Jackets to a fourth-place finish, accounting for 40 percent of Tech’s points.

“There have been some outstanding performers in the history of the ACC meet, some who have been Georgia Tech competitors as well,” said Drosky. “Ashlee’s efforts and performances at Maryland this year were exceptional and would certainly rank well with all the others.”

Kidd will wrap-up her Georgia Tech career at the NCAA East Regional Championships, and potentially, the NCAA Outdoor Championships. She currently stands fourth in the nation in the 400 meters, with an outdoor personal-best time of 51.54.

“I want to go under 51 seconds,” said Kidd about one of her remaining goals. “I believe six of the top eight finishers at last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships were from the East Regional, so I know that I can compete for a national title.”

In order to do so she will have to finish in the top four at the NCAA East Regional meet, to earn an automatic bid. If she finishes outside the top four, she could potentially earn an at-large selection, based on her current outdoor time in the 400 meters.

Her best shot at a national title might have come last year during the indoor track season. Kidd ran away with the 200- and 400-meter races at the ACC Indoor Championships, setting new ACC and Tech records with times of 23.37 and 52.61, respectively. At the end of the 400 meters, she tweaked her hamstring and was unable to compete at indoor nationals.

“It was tough to go to nationals and watch our girls compete, knowing that I could not,” said Kidd. “I saw the results of the finals, and knew that I could have been right there.”

That hamstring injury slowed Kidd for some time during the outdoor season, but she feels that she has made a full recovery from that a year later.

“I know that I can go faster this year,” said Kidd. “I really want to pick it up over the next two weeks and have a good showing at regionals.”

No matter what happens, Kidd’s name will remain in the Tech record books. She holds the indoor 200- and 400-meter records, and that is something she is very modest about.

“I can’t believe it,” said Kidd. “I would’ve never imagined what has happened here at Tech. The coaching staff has really done a great job and I owe a lot to them.”

“Not only talented, she is an outstanding competitor and has been at her best when it counted the most,” said Drosky. “Now, when high school prospects look at our program they see one of the top women’s collegiate sprinters.”

Maybe even her professional career. Although she is not able to speak to any agents or companies, there is no doubt that Kidd will continue her track career after she finishes her collegiate days with Georgia Tech.

“She’s certainly going to have opportunities in our sport beyond college,” said Drosky. “Once the NCAA meet is over, Ashlee and (Assistant) Coach (Audrey) Branch will sit down and evaluate those opportunities.”

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