Since becoming the state record holder at the state cross country meet and setting another state record in the 3,200-meter run at the state track meet the following spring of her freshman year, McKinney North senior and long distance-running star London Culbreath has been asked where she wants to go to college.
After keeping the biggest decision of her young life under wraps from family, friends and North’s entire student body, Culbreath let the world know on Wednesday by taking off a jacket to reveal she will be taking her special talents to the University of Arkansas.
Culbreath’s decision to run for the one of the best long-distance running programs in the nation highlighted McKinney ISD’s National Signing Day early period festivities.
“It feels really good to have this decision behind me because of how hard cross country season was on me, but now that I’ve made my decision and feel really good about it this is a major stress reliever,” Culbreath said. “To have this day and this whole opportunity is so surreal and I feel very blessed. I just really wanted a program that was going to push me and make me get better and Arkansas already has a proven culture of success with a group of strong women who are talented, and I definitely want to be apart of that awesome culture.”
Culbreath enters track season next spring as the most decorated runner in McKinney ISD history and one of the most successful in Texas distance-running history with nine state championships on her splendid resume. Culbreath won over 75 consecutive races before injuries put an end to her streak this fall during cross country season.
Now with her commitment to Arkansas official, Culbreath is motivated to return to form this spring and put a gold stamp on one of the best running careers in Texas high school history.
“I just want to have a really killer track season and have a drop-the-mic season to end my wonderful high school career,” Culbreath said. “It’s very hard to not have the season you want and to have people doubting me because of that, but I’m looking forward to working hard and prove them all wrong and go have a great track season.”
Culbreath wasn’t the only star athlete in MISD to sign a National Letter of Intent as North baseball talents Mason Andrews (Colorado School of Mines), Reid Lapekas (Vassar College), Sean Monsour (Grayson County Community College), Kolby Bryant (Vernon Junior College) and Zach Garza (Trinity) all signed as well.
McKinney’s talented softball quartet of Jordan Cabana (Harding), Kalei Christensen (North Texas), Alexis Poell (Dodge City Community College) and Emma Ponder (Memphis) signed on the dotted line as well. McKinney also had the volleyball duo of D'Erricka Frierson (Oklahoma Baptist) and Samantha Hicks (Louisiana Tech), along girls basketball star Erin Fry (Regis University) finalize their commitments.
Finally, Boyd’s Makenzie Hall (Incarnate Word) and Sophia Brix (Northeastern State) of the Lady Broncos’ girls soccer program signed, along with golfer Cody Winkler (Louisiana-Monroe), softball player Anissa Lechner (Texas A&M-Kingsville), golfer Molly Murray (Houston) and golfer Reed Foster (University of Texas-San Antonio).
Boyd’s volleyball duo of Darian Markham and Olivia Tarsi capped off their splendid senior seasons, during which they helped the Lady Broncos win their first playoff match since 2015, by signing with New Mexico State and the University of Texas-Tyler, respectively. For Markham who follows in the footsteps of her brothers, Daylon and Kaden, by signing a National Letter of Intent, being a part of her own Signing Day and signing with the Aggies is something she will never forget.
“This is a really exciting moment, especially being around all the other athletes from golf, soccer and softball, because we rarely see them, but it’s cool and we are all experiencing the same thing,” Markham said. “I picked New Mexico State because the coaches and players are wonderful, the campus is beautiful, and I went to a couple of games there and just loved it.
“Seeing my brothers do this kind of put pressure on me to do the same when I was older and I’m glad that day finally came.”