Alex Bunch has been a frequent runner in Louisville over the past several years, with six seasons of varsity cross country often drawing her to the area and five straight appearances in the state track and field championships taking her to the University of Louisville track complex.
Starting this fall, the standout Lincoln County High School distance runner will become a fixture on the Louisville running circuit, having signed her letter of intent to run for UofL.
Decked out in a red UofL t-shirt and Cardinal baseball cap, the LCHS senior realized her lifelong dream of running at the collegiate level by signing her letter of intent during a special ceremony at the school.
“I’ve always had dreams of running in college,” Bunch said. “It’s almost surreal that these dreams are actually coming true. I’ve been so blessed with the opportunity to chase my dreams.”
Bunch, who plans to pursue a degree in Biology, said being accustomed to the Louisville area probably helped her in making her college choice.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that the familiarity affected my decision, but I have had an opportunity to see their athletic complex over the years, and knowing what a nice place they have to train was definitely something that attracted me to UofL,”¿she said.
While familiarity may not have been a deciding factor in Bunch’s decision, a visit to the school this past fall was.
“After an overnight visit at Louisville this fall, I felt so at home on campus,” she said. “I felt as if I could really see myself going to school there. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the team, as well as the school in general.”
Bunch said getting a chance to meet with head coach Ron Mann, girls distance coach Taryn Sheehan and the team helped seal the deal.
“I did one official visit in September where I had the opportunity to meet the girls team, the whole coaching staff, as well as many other recruits,”¿Bunch said. “I definitely believe this influenced my decision. It made it clear where I could see myself for the next four years.”
“I had done a few visits and considered other colleges,”¿she added. “I was accepted to Centre College as well. It was a tough decision because they are both wonderful schools, but I am happy with my decision.”
While at Lincoln, Bunch has, at times, been the lone Lady Patriot runner competing in cross country meets and one of just a few girls representing the school in track and field. By signing with Louisville, which currently has a roster of 38 athletes on its women’s track and field team and more than enough runners in women’s cross country to compete as a full team, Bunch has assured herself of being a “team” runner.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of such a large team. I have met several of the girls on the cross country team already and they were so nice and welcoming and I felt that I could fit in easily,”¿she said.
But also by signing with Louisville, Bunch realizes that the competition level will be like nothing she’s experienced before.
“I understand that I will be racing on a much larger scale and against some very talented athletes because UofL is a D1 school,”¿she said. “I understand that I’ll have to work hard every day, but I look forward to the challenge and I know I’ll do my best to improve every day.”
“I am excited to be a part of the team and I hope that I can contribute in my first year. I know that even practicing as a team can not only help me improve, but my teammates as well.”
After having battled through two bouts of mononucleosis, Bunch now feels she is on the road to becoming 100 percent, and she’s going to use her final high school track and field season to help get her back in peak running condition.
“I am definitely working my way back up to where I should be,” she said. “I know that after taking time off for mono again, I’ll have to work very hard in order to meet the goals that I have set. I know that I may not be as strong as the season starts, but hopefully by the end of my senior season, I can be back to the level that I want to be.”
Bunch, the daughter of Rodney and Diana Bunch of Stanford, says she’s relieved to have her college decision made.
“I feel very relieved to know where I’m going to college,” she said. “It’s also very motivating to know that I’ll be a part of a college team next year and that I’ll have something to work towards even after this track season is over.”