The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

UMW hires new Cross Country and Track & Field coach: Asia Hart

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UMW hired a new cross county and track & field coach, Asia Hart.

UMW's new cross country and track & field coach Asia Hart. | University of Mary Washington


Staff Writer

Asia Hart was recently named the new head coach for both the cross country and track and field teams for the upcoming 2022-2023 season. 

“I hope to create a new standard within the program and for the group to come together to accomplish their goals,” said Hart. “I admire the productive and successful season that was had last year. I’m looking forward to things coming full circle this year.”  

The team will be focused on building strength and general conditioning from Labor Day until mid-October when the athletes will then begin to specifically train for their events. This is the basic training structure that Hart has created over the past five years, though it does adapt athlete to athlete. 

“I like to see what their strong and weak points are, and work from there to bring out the best in that athlete. It is individualized for the most part,” Hart said. “There is general stuff we can do but if we really want to see the results within this program, it is going to have to be individualized to what that athlete can manage, handle, and improve upon.”

The team laid a strong foundation over the past few years under the guidance of former coach Kunle Lawson, who had been at UMW since 2015, and with the help of upperclassman leadership. 

Teresa Guzman, a senior sociology major on both teams, commented on adjusting to a new coach and atmosphere.

“I think it was definitely sad seeing Lawson go considering some of us have known him since we were seniors in high school,” said Guzman. “But it’s been amazing welcoming in Coach Hart. It’s been a smooth transition and Coach Hart is filling the role everyone needs perfectly.” 

With the loss of multiple seniors and some athletes who are out due to injuries, the team looks significantly different from last year, according to Guzman.  

“With that being said, the team this year shouldn’t focus on what we lost and focus on getting the top five across the line,” she said. 

Rajai Walton, a senior business major on the track and field team, said he is looking forward to the upcoming season with Hart. He appreciates the encouragement and chemistry she brings to the team and hopes they can come together as a whole to improve the team. 

“I love Coach Asia’s energy and what she brings to the table,” said Walton. 

When asked what Walton hopes to see this year, he said without hesitation, “Another championship title.” 

Hart expects to work hard with each athlete individually in order to achieve this goal. This one-on-one style allows her to get to personally know each member of her team and discover what they can contribute.   

Hart also expressed a desire to see more community involvement from the team within the Fredericksburg area and mentioned an interest in organizing a 5k run fundraising event in the near future. 

Hart grew up in Birmingham, Ala., where she excelled as a runner from an early age. Hart went to Queens University of Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C., to continue her athletic career, winning nine track and field conference titles. She was also a South Atlantic Conference Track Athlete of the Year in 2016 and a three-time NCAA Provisioner Qualifier.

After completing her undergraduate degree, Hart attended Drury University in Springfield, Mo., to earn her master’s degree in communication with an integrated marketing focus, where she discovered her love for coaching. Her first coaching experience was as a graduate assistant helping athletes improve their sprints, hurdles and jumps. According to Hart, she joined the coaching community not expecting to love it as much as she does to this day. After her time at Drury, Hart moved back to Virginia to be a full-time assistant coach at Shenandoah University.

Hart learns from all of her previous coaching experiences to continue improving her program with each new season and team. 

“For my coaching style, I do build upon each year that I have coached,” she said. “So I might have a general plan coming in August and then by December if things just aren’t working, I will adjust it so that we can try to figure out a better plan of action for the athlete.” 

Walton looks forward to this new perspective on the team. 

“Coach Asia’s passion for coaching and the sport is very inspiring to the team,” he said. “I believe she’ll lead the team to success this season.”