The A team: Ashley Thompson
Sometimes it seems that athletes only pursue careers in a sports-related field, such as kinesiology or sports management, but not Ashley Thompson. The University of Texas cross country and track and field participant dreams of a career beyond sports as she looks toward a degree in advertising.
Thompson has made her mark at UT in the 400-meter run, placing fifth at the Texas Invitational during the 2006 outdoor track season with a time of 1:01.29, her collegiate best. She helped her team last year with a ninth-place spot at the Texas Twilight registering a time of 2:17.42, her collegiate best in the race and the fifth-best time among the Longhorns that season. Thompson ranked fifth among UT runners in 2006 indoor track and field, recording 2:22.73 in the 800-meter run at the Houston Indoor meet. In cross country, she placed fourth and 10th at the Texas State Invitational and Texas Lutheran Invitational, respectively.
Falling away from a traditional athletic major does not come as much of shock once one learns of Thompson's background. The San Antonio native's grandfather also works in advertising. Thompson first chose to major in liberal arts with the intention of applying to law school, but the runner decided to pursue advertising instead.
"I also thought of being a writer, but I chose advertising because it allows you to be a writer and be persuasive," Thompson said.
As much as she loves what she does, Thompson feels the weight of a semester coming to an end.
"Advertising is the most stressful thing in my life right now," Thompson said. "A lot of what we do is partner-based, so it is hard to make everything come together. It is a struggle to be creative all of the time."
Lucky for Thompson, her stress this semester is not intensified to unbearable due to cross country.
"My coaches are great at making sure school comes first," Thompson said. "They are willing to let me practice on my own if I have a lot of things going on."
That is not to say Thompson is totally stress-free. With graduation on the horizon and her future ahead, things can get a little edgy.
"Juggling school and athletics has never been a problem until this semester," said Thompson. "I have been busy applying for graduate school and working on my academic sequence."
Adding even more stress to the equation is Thompson's "Texas or Bust" attitude.
"Texas has one of the best advertising schools," she said. "It is the only place I have applied for graduate school. If I don't get in, I am just going to look for a job."
Although Ashley Thompson will leave UT and her running career behind to pursue advertising, Texas will always remain in her heart.