Asia Cole sent a message to all state competitors when she finished second at the Missouri State Track and Field Championships in the shot put and seventh in the discus as a Fort Osage High School freshman.

The University of Nebraska signee kept improving, winning both events as a sophomore and claiming the shot put title the last three years of her stellar career with the Indians.

In a landslide vote, Cole repeated as The Examiner’s Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year for the third straight year.

“An athlete like Asia comes along once in a coach’s career, if the coach is lucky,” Fort Osage head track coach J.D. Snead said. “She was outstanding as a freshman, and just kept getting better and better every year.

“She has left a legacy at Fort Osage that might never be equaled. I couldn’t be happier that she is Athlete of the Year in track and field. I am so proud of her accomplishment and so happy to have had her as a member of our team the past four years.”

That’s a statement Fort Osage volleyball and basketball coaches could also make, as Cole graduates with 12 varsity letters – four in each of the sports she dominated.

“People ask me all the time if Asia could have had more success if she would have just concentrated on the shot and discus,” Snead said, “and I tell them that at the high school level, you become a more well-rounded athlete the more sports you compete in.

“Now, at the next level – with great coaching, and just concentrating on the shot and discus – the sky’s the limit for Asia. I can’t wait to see what she does at Nebraska.”

Neither can Cole, who seemed a bit surprised when she was informed that she was receiving The Examiner’s top female honor.

“Really? That’s great,” she said after dominating the competition at the Meet of Champions, an annual Missouri vs. Kansas postseason meet that took place at Fort Osage. “There were so many great athletes this season, it’s nice to win, especially as a senior.

“Now, all I can think about is Nebraska. It’s going to be a new challenge, and I always enjoy a challenge and competing against the best – and I’ll be doing that every time I compete with the Cornhuskers.”

Cole finished her brilliant Fort Osage career with four individual state championships and eight total state medals. She has the best second (47 feet, 2.5 inches in 2013), fourth (46-1 in 2012) and fifth (45-5.5 this season) best shot tosses in Eastern Jackson County history, trailing only former UCLA standout and Olympian Valeyta Althouse of Blue Springs. Cole's discus toss of 150-1 in 2012 is the fourth best in area history. 

“To win (the shot) three years in a row, and to win as a senior, is just so special,” Cole said. “I’ve had so much fun at Fort Osage competing in volleyball and basketball and track. Success is great, but it’s the relationships and friendships I’ll remember. It’s time to move on to a new challenge in college, but I will always have great memories of Fort Osage and all my teammates and coaches.”