Four years ago, a young and bright eyed runner entered high school with a lot of hype. McKinney North freshman London Culbreath had just won the 1500m and the 3000m as a youth at the 2016 AAU Junior Olympic Games and was third in the 800m.
She hit the cross country season with a bang as she smoothly ran through the UIL season using an undefeated freshman year to win the UIL 5A cross country state championship. That would be the first of many; nine to be exact.
Culbreath followed that up with track and field championships in the Spring in the 1600m and the 3200m. That sent her home with three gold medals as a freshman as her Lady Bulldogs team won the track and field team title.
Success would follow in the exact same form for the following two cross country seasons and the sophomore track season. That sophomore track season, Culbreath won the 1600m state title and again added the 3200m title. This time, she did it in what was a UIL state meet record (10:13.68), at the time.
Heading into the junior track season, Culbreath had not lost a UIL race in her entire career or a race in Texas in her high school career. However, at the Texas Relays, she finished eighth place in the 3200m at the Texas Relays for her first loss in the state of Texas in her career.
The year and the pressure would not get any easier on Culbreath with the 2019 championship season right around the corner. She had one of the best distance runners in the state in the neighboring district with Frisco Reedy's Colleen Stegmann, setting up for a long road to the state meet. Culbreath and Stegmann battled in four consecutive races between the Area and Regional meets. The races were so close in the 1600m and 3200m in both races that none of them were won by more than 0.79.
All of the races were won by Culbreath, but at the state meet, there were questions whether Culbreath would be able to win one of the races let alone both distance races for the third consecutive year.
With the competition coming from the best of the best 5A girls in Texas, the light was shining on both races. Texas girls were once again able to provide stiff competition for Culbreath. However, like every other state championship, she was able to meet the challenge and prove the naysayers wrong once again becoming a two time champion that year.
Culbreath was unable to win her fourth consecutive state cross country championship in the Fall. However, this was a new season and she had one last opportunity to continue to add to her legacy. That was supposed to be this Spring in the 1600m and 3200m.
Not only is Culbreath being denied the opportunity to compete for the state championships in her senior year, she is denied the opportunity to make history and win the state championship in both events four consecutive seasons.
As fans, that would have been one of the storylines for the UIL state championships and a possible historic event to witness that we unfortunately are not going to see.