Culp top athlete, person

There are many characteristics that make up a coach’s dream athlete–someone who is the first to arrive and the last to leave, someone who picks up their teammates, and someone who can make everyone around them better.

It is never very likely that a coach will have a person like this on their team, but Bowling Green cross country team captain Amber Culp fits these descriptions well and her coach Cami Wells is grateful for that.

“Amber is a sweetheart, anyone who knows her will tell you that,” Wells said. “She likes order and planning and pushing herself to be the best she can be.”

After five races this season and five top five finishes, Culp appears to be in prime position to be the best she can be by the season’s end. Being the best is a trait that Culp has tried to keep throughout her track career which started at the age of six, when she competed in races and pentathons.

“I’m glad I got an early start, it is the only sport I’ve ever tried,” Culp said. “I wanted to be the best at it.”

And while Culp has been the best in many of her races, she has fallen on hard times before, too. Her first race in a Bowling Green uniform was uncharacteristic of the Culp that is considered to be one of the most dangerous runners in the Mid-American Conference.

“Amber started out her freshman year and was one of the last runners on the team our first race,” Wells said. “But she just kept improving and ended up our number three runner that year.” Since then, Culp has been able to step into a leadership role and has started to leave her mark in the Bowling Green history books. “Whenever they needed me, I would step up and do what the team needed me to do,” she said. “Last year, I stepped up and led the team.”

Her teammates will be the first to agree with her.

“Amber does what needs to be done,” veteran teammate Melissa Krueger said. “She’s not going to back off.”

But being a great runner is not the what has made her a coach’s dream. It is her attitude towards life. She best exuded that attitude this spring, when she started planning team events and activities after finding out about her team captain status.

“Amber is our team captain and she takes that very seriously,” Wells said. “She is sensitive to everyone’s feelings and really wanted everyone to feel like part of the team even before they arrived on campus.”

Krueger feels nearly the same way when it comes to her teammate of three years.

“She’s quieter and she leads more by example,” she said. “She’s a strong point for us to look at and she’s motivational when she gives advice.”

And while cross country in Bowling Green has gained from Culp, she has also gained from cross country.

“When I’m running, I don’t want to do it,” she said. “But it has made me who I am. I figure if I can do this, I can do anything. It also helps me to be me, a better person, a better athlete.”

Culp is not only in the midst of making herself and her teammates better, but she is also making every runner that ever comes to Bowling Green better.

“Amber said to me a while back that she wanted to make her mark in Bowling Green cross country history,” Wells said. “She wanted to be one of the best to ever run here and she has certainly made her mark. She has raised the bar and set the standard for the future.”