Lovelady Senior To Play Volleyball for Christian College

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

LOVELADY –  Lovelady Independent School District (LISD) Senior Alayna McCullogh has signed to play volleyball with Central Christian College in McPherson, Kansas. McCullogh is excited about the new challenge and although it will take her far from home, she is glad she will be able to continue to play ball in a small, Christian school, where she immediately felt at home. 

The 5’10” Senior is the tallest on the Lady Lion squad and possibly on the Central Christian Lady Tiger team, too. She said she is as tall as most of the boys and taller than most of the girls. While McCullogh is used to her height now, she admits boys can be a little intimidated looking up to her. 

McCullogh has played many sports at Lovelady but found volleyball to be her sport of choice, not just because of her height, but she fell in love with the game and excelled at it. 

“You have to work at home, you have to practice and you have to really enjoy what you’re doing. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, then it’s almost not worth it,” McCullogh said. “Because if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’re just spending time not having fun. And you really have to have fun.”

Attending several local churches in the Lovelady area, the thought of attending a Christian-based school appealed to her, knowing she would find many of the Houston County values she grew up with in her new home. 

Planning to major in elementary education, McCullogh got the inspiration to go into the field from her mom, Lovelady Elementary teacher Danielle McCullogh. 

“Growing up, my mom was always a teacher, so I grew up in the classroom. Not just when I was being a student, I was being her daughter in her classroom. And growing up I was always at the school, running around during the summer while she set up her classes. And I’ve always loved helping my fellow students with their work and whatnot,” McCullogh said. 

With one older brother who already graduated from college and two younger siblings, McCullogh didn’t know if her volleyball stats would get a look from college coaches. When she got a call from Coach Rick Hughes saying he had seen her videos and wanted to talk, she went for a visit, determined to make a go at her new school, new town, new teammates and friends – and new life. 

“I wasn’t originally planning on going so far, but the opportunity at Kansas seemed really bright for my future,” McCullogh said. “I think I would regret not going, because if I didn’t go to Central, I probably would have stayed home and gone to another school and not played volleyball, at all.”

The Messenger is always proud when our local students do well and are recruited to study and play in faraway places. It always does provoke the question of what will be missed, while they are so far from “home.”

“I will definitely miss my family and the environment. Not being able to participate anymore, or be able to watch my younger siblings play all their sports. The town in Kansas is great – a small town but has several fast food, Mexican restaurants and big stores. I really liked the coaches and the classes are small.”

It was pointed out scientists had recently proved the state of Kansas was, mathematically, actually flatter than a pancake. 

“I believe that,” McCullogh laughed. “It makes it so windy there!”

As the May graduates fly off to destinations near and far, locals can be proud another of our best will go out into the world to represent us as we continue to send our best, into the future. 

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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