Ally McCulley is a senior distance runner for the Ragin’ Cajuns Cross Country team. She has competed in events such as the 5k, 6k, 2.5 mile and 3.12 mile.

Out of these, her favorite to run is the 5k.

“I really enjoy cross season. I am more of a long-distance runner than mid-distance,” said McCulley. She set her personal best 5k record at 18:59.5.

In high school, she was a three-time Class 5A All-State selection in cross country. Now, as a senior for the Ragin’ Cajuns, she’s ready for the new season.

“I chose UL because it is somewhat close to my hometown, Mandeville, LA. UL athletics has amazing facilities and coaching staff, and UL also has great academics,” said McCulley. Overall she thought coming to the university was a perfect fit.

McCulley is excited for her senior season and looking forward to seeing how well the team comes together by conference. She’s ready to see how the new freshmen do, especially since they’ve been training so hard.

“The only worry I have at the moment is that COVID may affect our season, but we are doing our best to socially distance and stay healthy and it looks like our season should go as planned,” said McCulley.

COVID-19 has put a damper on a lot of sports since March of 2020. Despite this, McCulley still stayed in shape during quarantine. “It was tough running by ourselves, but besides running, I also took up cycling to change it up a bit,” said McCulley.

For the upcoming season, there are still precautions in effect.

“For upcoming meets, we have been taking precautions like social distancing, weekly COVID-19 tests and daily COVID-19 screenings as well as wearing masks at all possible times,” she said.

She thinks these protocols will most likely be implemented throughout the season.

McCulley said she had a favorite meet and tournament from last season.

“Last season I really enjoyed the Little Rock meet and our conference meet in Georgia. Both were hilly courses that were a bit more challenging, but it was a change from what we are used to in South Louisiana,” said McCulley.

She has spent several years as a cross country runner for the university now, and, while running for the Cajuns, McCulley has learned about staying mentally strong from Head Coach Lon Badeaux.

“One thing Coach B has taught me while running for him is no matter how tough a run or workout is, you still have to be mentally strong and push through. Running is a very challenging sport, not only physically, but also mentally and he pushes mental toughness which helps all of his athletes in many aspects of life,” said McCulley.

Looking back at her seasons running for Louisiana, McCulley recalled her favorite memory.

“My favorite memory from running at UL would probably be my first day of practice as a freshman. The excitement of being on a Division 1 team and seeing my teammates and how much they have accomplished academically and athletically helped me set goals for myself and have something to look towards for my career at UL,” said McCulley.

Be ready to see McCulley and the rest of the cross country team compete on Oct. 2 at the Warhawk XC Invitational in Monroe.