Running 70 miles, participating in school leadership roles and being on the road for five days is just another week for Loral Winn during the track and field season.
Winn is from Dresden, a small town in northwest Tennessee with a population of just over 3,000 people.
Growing up, Winn hadn’t always dreamed of getting into running. She actually wanted to be a collegiate gymnast, but it wasn’t until she broke her arm doing gymnastics that she turned to running.
As a youngster, Winn competed in different sports camps. During one called Pitch, Hit & Run, she decided to pursue cross-country.
Pitch, Hit & Run provides competitors an opportunity to showcase their baseball or softball skills.
Winn was timed running around the bases by a cross-country coach.
“I guess I ran pretty fast,” Winn said. “And he (the cross-country coach) was like, ‘You need to be a part of my cross-country team.’ So I started running the summer before I was in fifth grade and I’ve been going ever since.”
Winn’s family grew up playing, watching and breathing sports.
Her brother, Dresser, was a quarterback for UT-Martin from 2018-2022. In his last season with the Skyhawks, he threw for 2,904 yards at a 61% completion percentage and 18 touchdowns.
Winn attended Dresden High School and was a star cross-country and track athlete, earning eight varsity letters. She won All-State Cross Country in 2017 and 2018 and was named Jackson Sun newspaper’s All-West Tennessee Female Athlete of the Year.
Because of her high school accomplishments, she received recruiting calls from teams all over the country, but the majority were from the SEC.
Winn fell in love with campus because of the people, including her coach, in Oxford.
“I’m from such a small town. Oxford is small, but it feels big and so that kind of drew me here immediately,” she said.
In addition to competing in cross-country and track in high school, Winn was the vice president and the salutatorian of her graduating class.
“My whole life, I’ve just wanted to be the best at everything I do,” Winn said. “And so that competitiveness carries over into everything I do. Like in school, I want to be the best. In running, I want to be the best. In extracurriculars, I want to be the absolute best. So I have a hard time sometimes saying no.”
Winn enjoys having a busy schedule and doesn’t know what she would do if she had a lot of free time.
“I’m a student and I’m an athlete, but I’m involved in leadership roles across campus, and so I have to juggle that too,” Winn said. “But I enjoy doing that stuff. I tell people, like, I wouldn’t really know what I would do if I wasn’t busy.”
Winn majors in journalism, but she says that it’s something she didn’t expect to pursue until she was asked to share testimony at her church.
“I knew that I loved communicating. I knew I could write and so I was just trying to figure out a way to combine all my passions, and I guess, some talent, if it was there.”
Winn hopes to be on the broadcasting side of journalism, but it’s not necessarily because she wants to be seen on camera.
She loves using her voice to interact and communicate with people.
“It’s not because I want to be seen,” Winn said. “I just think that’s what comes with the territory, quite frankly. I just love the spoken part of it and being able to communicate with people and interact that way.”
She wants to be involved with anything sports-related in journalism and to be able to anchor to tell stories, not just be on the sidelines. But even if it’s not as a broadcaster, Winn wants to be around college athletics for the rest of her life.
Winn isn’t just any member on the Ole Miss track team; she’s one of the best athletes on the team.
She holds the Ole Miss all-time record in women’s indoor distance medley relay, finishing at a 10:56.39 mark, and in women’s indoor 1000 meters, finishing at a mark of 2:43.85-o.
“It’s really cool and a hard thing to do,” she said about holding a few school records. “But to be among some people who’ve been really, really great at Ole Miss, because we’ve had some really great athletes, it’s just an honor and a blessing for sure.”
Whether it’s in the classroom or on the track, Winn strives to be the best in everything she takes part in, and she hopes to create a positive impact on people’s lives in the years to come.
“I just want to impact people and hopefully make a difference in the world,” Winn said. “I’m just one person. But I hope that when I interact with people and the things that I say in the way that I act and carry myself, I hope that that is impressionable to people in a positive way.”