G-U-L-L-I, You ainít got no alibi, you Gulli, yeah-yeah, you Gulli.† These were the words that Chuck sang to Melissa her freshman year to annoy her, but what we didnít know is that just two short years later, Melissa Gulli would go on to become A&Mís only 3-time All American in one year.† The lucky few of us who got to watch those races, I donít think will very easily forget Melissa bringing it in on the last straight away of any of those NCAA races.† Gulli has brought the distance crew at Texas A&M onto a whole new level, and by her example, she is helping to recruit new talent, motivate the team, and give the ECCP a reason to get up off their collective asses and finally do something.† She has run 15.52.65 in the 5000, 9.24.96 in the 3000, and 4.24.45 in the 1500, and will make at least half the guys on the team worry in any workout.† Hopefully this will shed a little more light on the enigma that we call Gulli.
Running, the early years:
ECCP:† So Gulli, how did you start running?
GULLI:† I played soccer and I used to always see people running and I always thought that that girl Brooke was a little insane, I used to see her just go around and around, I wasnít into running at that point, I ran the 800 in middle school.† I got injured in soccer and to rehabilitate my leg by having to run and I just started to like it.† My high school coach didnít have a lot of confidence in me and he didnít show me a lot of running.† So I guess that made me work harder, and I was still playing soccer at the time, but I was working so hard that I just started to like running.
E:† When did you decide that you wanted to run in college?
G:† It was when I started running well, because I wasnít planning on coming to college and doing a sport, it was like the last thing, but when I started running well my junior year, I thought, well maybe I have a shot.
E:† When you came in was there a lot of pressure on you to run fast, did they expect a lot out of you?
G:† I think that there was a lot more pressure when Hinze was the coach and I think that we were also flustered with ďWhoís our coach?Ē and just being recruited and being so excited with school, and we were just dropped, I guess that it was good that the pressure was off because after I signed I heard that he was so mean and that he was expecting a lot out of me, so yeah I was kind of scared.† I didnít have as great of a freshman year as I would have liked to have, and I think that if there was a lot of pressure, then I probably wouldnít be running right now.† I just couldnít quit.
Running, the bad ass years:
E:† It seems that you had a break through season in cross last year, what was that like for you?
G:† I guess that I started to give up after my freshman year and I was really flustered with school, but I kept moving on and just stick to my motto of ďkeep working hardĒ and it just clicked.† Iím a pretty impatient person but I was really patient with this and it helped me be patient with some other parts of my life if I just keep working at it.† Being patient and believing in Coach HartmanÖwith so much support on the team it made me want to keep going.† Cross nationals was such a shocker. I knew that I could do it, I had to work really hard, but I struggled at the beginning of the season with a hip injury, and I was really mad at it because I worked so hard in the summer because I was happy because I ran really well at Big XIIís the previous spring.† Andrea and I just worked so hard together, I guess that I was just so COLD and I just get to the finish line.† It was a big shock to me, I just couldnít believe it, I had been having good workouts but I had never had a race like that and after that I was really happy and I partied pretty hard over the Christmas Break and was kind of worried about indoors, but I did the work, I just stayed relaxed and made in to Indoor NCAAs
E:† What was it like to get 6th at that race?
G:† I thought that I was doomed to not make it, but I went to Iowa and qualified and that was just really cool, but I donít know, I guess that Iíve always been relaxed and laid back.† I obviously concentrate on it and work hard butÖIím not anal about it, I enjoy other aspects of my life, and I think that that is why Iíve been so successful.† I donít freak out, I can drink a Coke, eat a hot dog, or drink a beer and it will be okay, Iím not going to psyche myself out, I know that itís okay if I have a few bad workouts.† I guess just the support of the team and Coach always telling me, ďI know you can do this.Ē† I never believed that I would be able to break 16:00 but I finally did.† I remember when I finally did it and I went through 2-miles at 10:19, and I was just like ďOh crap, just one more mile.Ē† Iím not saying that people said that I couldnít do it, but Iíve had a lot of that in my life just people saying, ďOh well you know how hard it is to do this,Ē and itís just so nice to prove people wrong.† I remember in high school as I was about to come into this program and Hinze said, ďWhatís your goal?Ē and I told him that I just wanted to make it to Footlocker and he told me that that was really hard to do, but I did it, and it felt good.
E:† What was it like going to China?
G:† I think about it now, and I donít think that I enjoyed it as much as I should have when I was there.† I think that I was a little bitter about the summer, I love racing and I knew that I was going to take Cross Country out.† I new that redshirting was going to be fun, and it was but, I just felt like I was missing so much, but China, I think about it now and I get these emails from Matt Lane and Sally Hauser, and its really cool.† I got to meet a lot of really cool people, and just got to see everything from a whole new perspective, how they take care of you and everything.
E:† How was it hanging out with all of the big guys?
G:† It was cool.† People are so made up, but theyíre just normal people, and you still have those really anal people and those really laid back people and itís just really cool to see.
The team, outlook, and a bunch of other things:
E:† You seem like you can relax and go outÖ
G: †Yeah, I think that I have good balance and thatís the only way that Iíve been successful.
E:† Before Cross Nationals, you started dating Cook, and heís been there with you through this whole All-American experience.
G:† (Laughing) Yeah, yeah, that was like a week before I left, that had nothing to do with it.† I think that is one thing with me is that I go after things that I want, and I donít let things slip by, so I just chased after a younger boy, thatís pretty embarrassing, but I guess that I can admit it.† Oh well, and he always reminds me, ďYou came onto me!Ē† I guess that itís pretty funny, but whatever.
I had never dated a runner, but itís pretty cool, you can relate if youíre tired, especially if they do the same distances as you.
So ladies, you should date someone on the team.† So Heavyís number is Ö
E:Ö695-0922, and Iím available at all hours.
After Gulli stops laughingÖ
G:† I think the main thing is the support.† Itís awesome that you can have people that are so interested in your life.† Iíve been told that Iím modest, and thatís good, because I donít think that you are going to get anywhere if youíre cocky.† Like Shaff Dog (Jacob Shaeffer, for the old ags) is always like ďCome on you All-American,Ē and itís just really funny.
I think that the older people on the team guided us well and were great to us.
E:† Any memorable stories?
G:† I just loved going to Harryís every Thursday (laughing).†
E:† Any others?
G:† 14 baby (laughing) thatís all that I have to say.
E:† Yeah Tommy was on his recruiting trip then.
G:† Yeah, thatís what made him come here.† That was a great momentÖif you youngings donít get it, then, oh well.
After a short break to eat:
G:† You see, things are different now, you used to walk into an apartment and all the guys were naked, and now theyíre not.
E:† Yeah, the guys keep their clothes on now, whatís up with that?
G:† I know, everyone is so conservative now.
E:† Yeah, I think that when Scott and Chuck left the nudity dropped a lot and now that Oubre is gone, itís really rare.
G:† Yeah, all of the corrupters are gone, maybe I should be the big corrupter my last year.† Revert back to my Wild Melissa days.
E:† How about the night before the guys left for nationals your sophomore year?
G:† I guess I was always full of crazy ideas, I felt like the little ring leader of our freshman class, I think thatís why Lesley Zak didnít like me very much, but thatís a different story.† I like to go out a lot, and we all got together and decided to revert back to our old high school days and paint on everyoneís cars.† So we go over to the trackshack and what do we see, but a bunch of naked guys reading Playboys, it was funny.† Some people got offended but I just thought that it was hilarious.† Then it turned into a food fight with flour up my butt and my name written on one of my butt cheeks with marker.† I remember taking a shower at 4:30am cleaning peanut butter and mayonnaise off myselfÖit got a little out of hand.
G:† Yeah, I never hung out with my team in high school, and when I came up here, I just thought that it was really cool.† There are so many different personalities.† Itís not like in high school where there is just running and school, thereís so many different things going on.
E:† So tell us about Oubre.
G:† He sucks because he didnít go to the meet in LSU, because my boyfriend is in love with you and you didnít go watch him race.† I remember one moment with Oubre, when we stayed at his house for New Years and the next morning Oubre wasnít there, and he walked in the door, and when his family asked where he was, he said, ďOh, I just spent the night at some chicks house.Ē
E:† Is there anybody on the team that has helped you a lot?
G:† Most people think all of my success has just come so easily, but I did struggle for a long time and found it somehow inside of me to keep working.† There is not just one person that has really impacted me, it is everyone.† I remember when the guys qualified for cross-country nationals and when Scooter came across the finish line in 14th place and seeing the smiles on everyoneís faces.† Just watching how happy everyone was and to see all of Scooterís hard work pay off, really motivated me.† Seeing how excited people are to watch a race motivated me also.† I guess I just love to put a smile on everyoneís face.† My point is, of course, the older people on the team were a huge influence, but so were so many other things such as the Trackshack.
E:† So Melissa, what are your plans for after college?
G:† Everyone asks me that, but it depends on the moment, I still have to run faster, and I still have to win something.† I guess it just depends on the level of running at the time.† The Olympics are coming up not too long after I graduate; itís always been a far reach goal.† I know that I have it in me to train and do it, itís just a matter of it all happening.
E:† I remember that in Career Awareness our sophomore year, you said that your perfect day would be on Real World Hawaii, hanging out, and sipping on a margarita.†
G:† I think that would be a good day, but I guess that Iíve grown up since then, because I know that working hard and the pain of a workout, and a perfect day now would be working hard and attaining a goal is more important than kicking back and having a drink.
E:† Anything else that you want to add?
G:† All I have to say though is that we better have an alumni meet this year, because I missed it last year because of China, and Iím very bitter.† It was probably the best party of the year.