After growing up playing high-level soccer, McKinney North freshman phenom London Culbreath at one time had no interest in running track.
“I found out I could run through soccer, but at first I hated running and in fact when they would tell me it’s track season I would start crying,” Culbreath said. “As the years have gone on, I have really learned to love the sport and realized God has given me this special gift and I need to use it to its full potential.”
Only a freshman at North, Culbreath just finished a historical running season that will be talked about for decades to come. Culbreath became the state record holder at the UIL cross country state meet this fall and followed that up by setting another state record in the 3,200-meter run last weekend in Austin at the state track meet, along with winning her third overall state title in the 1,600.
To date, the freshman running sensation has now won all 25 UIL track meets she has ever run in, along with setting seven meet records throughout her historical season. She’s won 51 of the 52 overall races she’s competed in over the last year with her only loss coming at the Nike Cross National Finals – she finished 12th –while on her way to becoming the first freshman from Texas to be named the Gatorade Texas Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.
To put things into better perspective, what Culbreath has done in a year most people never accomplish in their career. As a result, the 5-foot-2 long distance queen has silently and respectfully sent a smooth message to her fellow competitors by letting everyone know they will need their personal best just to compete with her.
“It’s crazy to think what I’ve accomplished so far and I feel very blessed to be in this position,” Culbreath said. “My future goals are to improve my times by going under 10 minutes in the two-mile run and lowering my mile run while I keep showing progression each year. Hopefully by cutting things all the way down and continuing to work hard I can get down to Olympic times.”
Many people in the state and national running communities have been pleasantly surprised and amazed with what Culbreath is accomplishing. Don’t put Michael Culbreath in that category.
Besides being her father, he’s had the unique pleasure of watching his daughter’s competitive drive blossom firsthand.
“Her drive to win is what makes her special because even if you are playing a simple game like dominoes she’ll do whatever it takes to win,” Michael Culbreath said. “If you tell her she can do something, she’s believes it and she gives everything she has to make it happen.
“Since beginning club track a few years ago, to winning national AAU titles last summer to everything she’s accomplished this year in school, London has displayed the focus and commitment to accomplish all her goals we have set and this is all a part of the process.”
Even while dominating on the running circuits, Culbreath is also a standout soccer player for FC Dallas ECNL ‘02 team. Though proud with all her overall athletic accomplishments, London’s mother, Paula, is even more proud to the outstanding all-around young woman she’s developing into as her star gets brighter with each race win.
“I can’t tell you how proud of her I am because she’s just a very good girl who is very grounded and thankful for the gift she has and she uses it very well,” Paula Culbreath said. “She’s always been gifted in soccer and track, but I love the fact she works just as hard to make good grades and has become a great example of what a young Christian woman is all about.
“It would definitely become a dream come true to see if all this ends with London running in the Olympics, but at the end of the day she’s just my little girl who has already made me and her dad very proud.”