Whether it’s been in the classroom or on the soccer pitch, St. Dominic senior Ashley Martinez has lived by one simple rule.
Work like no one’s watching.
That work has earned Martinez the distinction of being the St. Louis Post-Dispatch 2020-21 Scholar Athlete for St. Dominic.
“I think it’s a really cool feeling that you can combine the two into something nice,” Martinez said. “Obviously, you’re supposed to work when no one’s watching but it is nice to know that people see your efforts, that they see you care and try hard. I didn’t think that I would be selected for this. It’s crazy that everyone notices what you do. It’s a really big honor.”
In the classroom, Martinez owns a 4.22 grade point average and is ranked 11th in the Class of 2021.
Not only will Martinez be heading off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall to play soccer, but she will also begin her studies to pursue an undergraduate degree in Biology with an eye on joining the school’s Pre-Med program.
“It’s been my dream forever and it’s almost surreal that it’s going to be a reality,” Martinez said. “When I was younger, my mom always told me that I ask a lot of questions and that I should be a doctor. It’s something really small but it made me look into being a doctor and I just fell in love with that area. I really like learning about science and math, too. Anatomy is very fascinating to me. It has my interest and it’s one of my better subjects.”
Just as Martinez has excelled in the classroom, she has been equally dynamic on the soccer pitch.
In her one season with the girls soccer team, she tallied eight goals and added seven assists as the Crusaders won the Class 3 state championship by defeating Summit in the title game and finished 26-3-1.
Martinez, who didn’t play as a freshman, is eager to go out and help guide her teammates to a shot at another title. While the midfielder’s five goals and four assists so far have been important, Martinez brings a lot more to the team, coach Greg Koeller said.
“Ashley possesses the very core of athletic character that separates her from many of her peers,” Koeller said. “One, she possesses incredible self-discipline, which is an uncomfortable state to live in. Ashley has made the choice to excel to reach her true potential both academically and athletically. Her second core quality is competitive fire. Competitive fire lights up whenever she is challenged. Ashley has decided to always play to win whether it is on training or a match. Some athletes never make that conscience decision. The third core quality is self-belief. Ashley keeps coming back with greater confidence, regardless of circumstance.
“Ashley controls all these qualities,” Koeller added. “They are not genetic traits that are inherited. They are decisions she has made to make a difference. She inspires others so they too can make significant statements about themselves on both sides of the athletic playing time divide.”
For her part, Martinez said that much of her success as a player and a leader are both things she owes to her time at St. Dominic.
“I think St. Dominic has helped me grow as a person and has helped me become a better leader,” Martinez said. “I think I’ve got a stronger voice and have become more confident from my time here. That will transfer into whatever I do in the future. I think St. Dominic has given me a really good basis of both academic and athletic skill that I can use as a platform later on.”
While Martinez and her teammates are the defending state champions, no one should expect there to be any less of a fire in their respective bellies.
That’s especially true after having to sit out the 2019 season due to COVID restrictions.
“It just creates even more of an urge to want to go to state and win because it’s our last year. It would be really cool,” Martinez said. “I didn’t play as a freshman and last year. It would be really cool to win a championship every season I played soccer in high school. To be a champion like that would help leave my mark on the St. Dominic soccer community.”
Martinez joins St. Dominic alumni Cati Beth Welby, Jack Niggemier, Samantha Zoellner and Helen Wilmes, who have also won the prestigious honor as St. Dominic’s Scholar Athlete in recent years.
Athletics Director Kevin Roberts said he knows Martinez is completely deserving of such an honor.
“Ashley is the consummate student-athlete,” Roberts said. “She is a true leader, both in the classroom and on the soccer field. She’s very humble and her work ethic shows in everything she does.”