By T. Scott Boatright
For graduating Cedar Creek senior Ansley Long,running is simply who she is.
Earlier this month Long swept the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs for the Lady Cougars at the Class 1A State Championships, finishing at 5:34.87 in the 1,600 and going under 12 minutes in the 3,200 at 11:59.68.
She won seven individual titles during her time at Cedar Creek; three in cross country, two during indoors and another two during outdoors.
For Long, those efforts aren’t hard — part of who she is.
“It’s just always been that way,” Long said about running. “I love it so much. I want to be the best that I can be, so I work my behind off all the time. I just love to do it. I always stay focused and stay healthy so I can be the best runner I can be.”
“I started competitive running in the sixth grade. I did run a lot in elementary (school), but that was nothing like when I began running competitively.”
During her lonely runs ahead of the rest of the pack in many of her championship races, Long said she’s had only one focus.
“I just keep in my mind that I have to keep on going and have to push myself,” Long said. “I kind of just keep that in mind. A race is never over until you cross the finish line. So I keep that in my head. Even when I have a big lead I have to keep on pushing.”
Cedar Creek head coach Craig Moss said it’s her drive that propels Long to a championship level.
“She’s a tenacious runner with a heart like no other,” Moss said. “Her determination to compete and be the best is unlike any athlete I had ever seen.”
Last November Long signed early to run collegiately for head coach Brock Moreaux at the University of New Orleans starting next fall.
“Coach Brock wants to build a national championship team and he chose me to be one of his runners and I wasn’t about to let that offer get away,” said Long, who plans on majoring in sports medicine. “I want to be part of a national championship team, so I’m ready to work for it.”
Moss said he’s looking forward to seeing Long get even better on the collegiate level.
“The longer she runs — the longer the distance — the better she gets,” Moss said. “I think college is going to set up well for her. She’s probably going to end up running the 5K, 8K and 10K, and she’s going to be a true force when she gets to UNO.”