Ronan High School cross country and track athlete Ashley McCready signed a letter of intent at Ronan High School Wednesday to run track and cross country with Montana State University-Northern.
McCready said she received interest from other colleges across the country, including North Dakota and Michigan but chose to stay close to home.
“College wise, a couple of other universities made an offer and there were a lot of other state schools, but they weren’t offering a scholarship,” McCready said.
Cross country and track distance coach Noelle Decker attributed the interest colleges had in McCready to her work ethic.
“She puts in a lot of time in the off season and she just runs all year long,” Decker said. “She isn’t the type of kid that you have to remind her and get after her. I knew she put the miles in this winter. She ran outside most of the winter and I know she ran all winter long, even in the bad weather we had. When she started distance running, she was in as good of shape as she was during the cross country season, if not a little bit better.”
Decker further elaborated on what has made McCready a successful athlete and why she felt she will succeed at the collegiate level.
“She is the kind of kid that she knew what her goals where and what she wanted to do,” Decker said. “She put in the mileage this winter and was self-motivated. She runs probably five or six days a week. That is in the kind of weather we had. She wanted to go out and brave the elements in the winter, and she did it. She is just very mature for her age and knows what she needs to do to get there.”
Decker said she felt McCready is the type of athlete that is immune to burning out because of her passion to run, something Decker said every participant at the high school level doesn’t possess.
“I know one thing about her is that she just loves to run and that is the one thing to her advantage. She doesn’t get burned out or tired,” Decker said. “She is always out there running. She never complains and doesn’t want to do it and truly loves it.”
During cross country, McCready barely missed being labeled as an all-state runner at the state meet in Kalispell.
“She was very disappointed in falling short of all-state honors,” Decker said. “Looking back, I think she just got a little bit excited and get herself worn out in the first two miles and in the third mile. She was just tired and that ended up being a positive, because it motivated her to do better in track season.”
McCready said she has some unfinished business, things she would like to achieve before her career with the Maidens is finished.
McCready is eyeing a school record, held by Kira Crenshaw, in the 3,200-meter run set in Great Falls in 1995.
“Oh yes, she can break the record and has come into the season by fine-tuning things,” Decker said. “When she gets to that point, she has the foundation with the millage, her speed and all other things.”
McCready would also like join her cousin, Terinee McCready, in the Ronan record book.
“It would really mean a lot to be able to leave something after I graduate,” Ashley McCready said. “Not only would it feel good to accomplish something and also try to better my track career but it would also show me how far I’ve come in my career.”