One of Hillsdale’s Finest: Ally Eads

Written by Kate Vanderstelt

It is a Tuesday morning, and I sit with cross country and track and field captain Ally Eads in A.J.’s Café. As she finishes up some physics homework, she starts to discuss her tattoo idea with me. Ally, a red-headed, energetic twenty-two-year-old, is not typically pegged as the tattoo type. But just a few weeks ago, she told her track teammates that if she earned the honor of being an All-American at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships meet, she would get a tattoo.

Ally became an individual All-American in the mile run on March 9, by finishing in seventh place at the Championships. “When I crossed the line, and the officials told us to go over to the awards stand, I didn’t believe it for a second. I’ve had so many times where it just didn’t happen—and then it finally happened—that I was relieved and surprised.” She laughed. Ally had been a walk-on coming into the college cross country team, but the successes she has had from joining the sport would show no sign of that. She has improved a little over thirty seconds in the mile and has made it to nationals in the steeple competition in outdoor track every year—including as a freshman. When a teammate asked her how much better she’s gotten since high school, she began, “I’ve gotten like a minute better in my 5K, for cross, but that’s different courses, so it’s kind of hard to say that.” Ally shrugged it off as her teammate admired her humility.

Ally will graduate in the spring of 2019 with a bachelor of science in exercise science. When asked about her experience with the major, she explained, “I like that I’m able to take what I learn in class and apply it to my knowledge of sports. I like doing labs and seeing how the body moves; it’s really interesting to me. I get a little bit of anatomy, a little bit of physics, a little bit of biomechanics. I like the diversity of my major and how it’s not all the same thing.” She continued that her professors really solidified her positive experience. “I like that one of my professors is a physical therapist, which is what I want to go in to ultimately. The people in my major are very supportive of me being an athlete. They’re not really hard on me, and they work really well with me if I have to miss class for a meet or something.”

She has been picking up extra shifts at her job with the on-campus security department, studying daily for her classes, and working through interviews for post-collegiate life. Most recently she has been pursuing a career with New Balance. Ally says the small-school atmosphere has helped her achieve this multifaceted success.

“I like that I don’t have a lot of distractions here—I don’t ever feel like I’m missing out on something.” At a bigger school, Ally felt she would have to compromise studies, athletics, or rest in order to get the “college experience.”
“Here, I can go to a lot of the SAB events. I’m able to pretty much take part in most of the things I want to—and also be an athlete.”

This is something Hillsdale does well: build individuals who are people in-and-of themselves and not simply defined by an activity that they do. Each student here can achieve success in any part of life, so long as they are willing to put their best foot forward.

Crystal SchupbachKate Vanderstelt, ’20, studies English and chemistry. She is an athlete on the Cross Country and Track and Field teams and a member of Chi Omega Fraternity.

Published in July 2019