Heys, the 2014 Foothill League 3,200-meter champion and Foothill League cross country runner-up, made her first big announcement at the 14th annual Ben's Ten race, as she blazed through the five-mile course in an eye-popping 28 minutes, 43 seconds, showing teammates and competitors she's due for another memorable season around the oval.
That mark, which averages out to 5:44 pace, smashes Samantha Ortega's 2015 Santa Clarita Valley high school five-mile record on the roads (29:47) and would have been an all-time valley record if it wasn't for Shannon Murakami running 28:32 just ahead of Heys on Saturday.
Just two hours following her stunning performance at Ben's Ten, Heys made another big announcement, through her Facebook and Instagram accounts, regarding her college decision. And the winner is...
Heys is the third Foothill League distance runner to commit this year, following Ryan Tate and Ryan Painter's decisions to attend Utah Valley University and Dartmouth College in the fall, and joins a very long list of Saugus athletes to move on to the next level.
The only other Centurion to compete for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is 2011 graduate Alex Hampton, the 2009 Foothill League 400-meter champion and former school record-holder over that distance (57.64).
Heys has enjoyed a stellar career under the leadership of head coach Rene Paragas.
In May 2013, she became just the second female to sweep the junior varsity 800-meter, 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter crowns, while also breaking Brenda Cohen's 10-year old Foothill League championship record in the eight-lap event that week.
As a sophomore, she finished third at the Foothill League championships behind teammate Ortega and Canyon's Natalie Rodriguez and was one of Saugus' scorers at the CIF State Cross Country Championships, where's the Centurions' streak of seven state crowns came to an erupt end.
She rebounded nicely in the spring, holding off Rodriguez by just one-one hundredths of a second to extend Saugus' streak of Foothill League 3,200-meter crowns to 10. That's the day Heys set her 10:49.51 personal best over the distance (SCV No. 19 all-time!).
Her junior year was even better, as Heys finished runner-up to Ortega at the Foothill League Cross Country Championships, earned an All-CIF Southern Section award, while running 17:49 at Mt. SAC (SCV No. 15 all-time!), and scored on Saugus' state championship win in Fresno. That crown was the ninth straight for the program.
In track, she continued that upward momentum with her first sub-five-minute mile against Hart. On that day, Saugus had five females run 4:58, 4:58, 5:01, 5:02 and 5:04 in one race, despite missing Kaylee Thompson (5:03 PR). Heys was one of those 4:58 performances and went on to take third in the 1,600-meter final and fourth in the 3,200-meter final at last spring's Foothill League Track & Field Championships.
She ended her junior year with an impressive 2:16.91 800-meter mark that ranks No. 28 all-time on a list that includes big names like Olympian Alysia Montano, U.S. champion Lauren Fleshman, state champion Aly Drake and defending CIF division two champion Bianca Tinoco.
Last fall, Heys was, in the Signal's words, "the legacy's caretaker," as Saugus' quest for 10 consecutive CIF state cross country championships was the valley's biggest headliner all season long. She and the program didn't disappoint, as the Centurions captured state championship No. 10 by 11 points over Bella Vista High School, arguably the greatest moment in Saugus Cross Country's 10-year reign.
When looking at Ashley Heys' running career, there's no doubt she's gotten faster each season.
The question following her incredible 28:43 five-mile record, which saw her finish 16th against some of the best male runners around Santa Clarita, is how fast will she run this spring and what legacy will she leave behind as she heads to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in August?