At first glance, the next member of the 2014 WTOK All-Scholastic team might not appear to be into sport. Patrician Academy senior Ashleigh Christopher plays the flute in the band, and she loves to read.
"I enjoy reading everything from magazines to just... any kind of novel or really anything," she said.
With just one B in four years of academic work, she's Choctaw County's Most Distinguished Young Woman, a cheerleading captain and Miss Patrician Academy. But what many don't know is that she never stops running.
"We actually just started our track program three years ago, so I kinda helped initiate that," said Christopher. "Because running's something I've always loved to do."
That's right. Ashleigh's been helping build a track program in a stadium that doesn't even a track.
"We're just starting. It's really something we're new at," said Ashleigh. "We're still learning, and so, we're not up to par with schools yet, but I hope that we can get there."
But the Saints may already be there. Just one week after we spoke with her, Ashleigh was part of a 4 x 200 relay team that finished 2nd out of 28 teams at the AISA State Meet. Her efforts helped the Saints win their first AISA-A State Title.
"Track is a very individual sport," said Saints track coach Nena Beth Morris. "A lot of it just depends on the dedication of the individual and she, by far, is the most dedicated student I've ever encountered."
Three times a week, Ashleigh starts her day at 5:00 A.M. with a four-mile run and sometimes adds another at night. When asked why shes does that in addition to her track practices, she gave a simple answer.
"It's something I've always loved to do, and so, it's not a chore for me. I just love to do it."
Most students her age would never consider that fun, but it's part of what Coach Morris calls the "Ashley Factor."