Allison Fields plans to be an optometrist down the road.
The past three track and field seasons, those watching competition with their very own eyes got to see one of the state of West Virginia’s very best on display.
Her storybook career in the sport almost never happened.
“The first year I ever did track was eighth grade,” Fields recalled while standing on the track at Memorial Stadium. “I didn’t even want to do track. One of my best friends, Parker Anderson, was like, ‘Just come out, do it.’ So, I was like, ‘I’ll do track just to keep me busy.’”
Not only was she busy, but successful. She won her share of meets as a sprinter that eighth grade year in the spring of 2016. Her days as a competitive gymnast years prior were paying off.
From there it was on to high school and Fields quickly proved she was no middle school wonder.
“I don’t think any of the high schoolers realized how much potential I had,” said Fields. “We started going to meets and I started winning.”
The winning never stopped.
By the 2017 West Virginia High School State Track and Field Meet Fields was still a relatively unknown, but that was about to change.
Fields flew to state championship finishes in both the 100 and 200 meters. In addition, she ran a leg on the 4x200 and 4x400 teams that also claimed state titles. Her performance helped Ripley almost pull off a team championship in Class AAA, losing by two points to Morgantown.
“I did not expect to be a four-time state champion my freshman year,” Fields admitted, flashing her beautiful smile. “But it was the best year of my life.”
Fields dealt with nerves her freshman season, but one would have never known.
“I’m one of the most nervous people before a race,” she said. “That gun goes off and all that adrenaline I’ve been holding inside of me just takes me to the finish line. And half the time, I can’t even remember the race after it’s done. I’m like, ‘Did I really just do that.’”
The following season, Fields dealt with the dreaded sophomore jinx. A nagging thigh injury slowed her down much of the spring.
Yet, when it came time for the State Meet, Fields showed she’s not only a talented runner, but one with plenty of guts and courage.
She battled the injury to finish third in both the 100 and 200 while running a leg on another winning 4x4 team.
“It was definitely a mental game my sophomore year,” said Fields. “You have the physical injury but then it takes a toll on you mentally as well.”
After her third-place finish in the 200, Fields stepped up big time in helping the Lady Vikings win the 4x4 for a second straight year and this time around leave University of Charleston Stadium/Laidley Field with the state championship trophy in their possession.
“I was in a lot of pain. But I said pretty much no matter what, I was going to run the race,” Fields said. “I just knew I wanted to give it my all and we ended up winning. So it was all worth it.”
Fields rebounded her junior year for another big State Meet. She returned to the podium as the fastest runner in the state by winning the 100 for a second time in her career. She also was a solid second in the 200 and 400.
And once again Fields did her part in Ripley taking the 4x4 crown for a third straight year. In addition, the Lady Vikings broke the meet record they had set in 2017.
Her wonderful all-around performance played a big part in Ripley winning a second straight state title (the first time that has been accomplished by an athletic team in school history).
“She has been an amazing runner,” said Ripley second-year head coach Krystle Cunningham. “I was really excited for her senior year because she trained all winter.”
As we know, it is a senior year cut short after just nine practices due to COVID-19. This was certainly not the finish to an outstanding career Fields wanted.
“It’s so weird. There’s nothing we can do about it,” she said. “We had been to practice for two weeks and then no more.”
Fields said she has just tried to stay positive and take things “day to day.”
Not only did the coronavirus bring an end to her high school days as a runner but also her track and field career.
Fields certainly had options at the next level, but plans to attend WVU and later move on to Ohio State to accomplish her goal of working in the optometry field.
She’s going to miss it, but most of all Fields will miss the many friends attained in her high school days, including distance star Tori Starcher.
Fields and Starcher formed quite the dynamic duo the past three years for Ripley High girls track and field.
“We’ve been friends since seventh grade and through the years our friendship has just grown,” Fields said of Starcher, who will compete collegiately at Stanford. “I’m sad she’s going away to Stanford. I’m going to miss her so much.”
Fields knew March, April and May would evaporate quickly in her last days as a competitive runner. In addition to spending time with friends like Starcher.
While the end wasn’t the chapter she wanted to write, the ones before were indeed special.
Some could run a lifetime and never accomplish what Allison Fields did in three seasons on the track.
It is plain to see; she leaves as one of Ripley High’s best-ever on the track.