For Beggs High School senior Regan Ward, competitive running was love at first sight. And considering her level of success, one could say the feeling was mutual.
"I've been running for about 7 or 8 years; since the sixth grade," said Ward. " I loved it from the minute I started it but I got serious about [running] my freshman year probably."
Being serious about her running is something special. Ward is a seven-time state champion and current state record holder in the 2-mile. But going into her final year of high school, she set her sights on a bigger goal: qualifying for the prestigious Millrose Games.
And she did. By finishing in the top three in the girls 1-mile invitational, Ward not only qualified, she made event history in the process. Regan Ward is the first Oklahoma female to qualify for the Millrose Games, now in its 106th year.
"I had no idea," Ward explained. "My dad saw [an article] online and I was like 'This is so cool!'"
And being the high school off-season between cross country and outdoor track, Ward's designated conditioning is work she has to mostly do on her own. But Beggs High School head coach Gerard Alexander says staying motivated hs never an issue for her.
Sometimes we get concerned about her doing too much and we try to cut it back a bit," Alexander said. "If you ask her to do 3 or 4 miles, she'll do 6, 7, or 8 -- you won't outwork her."
Regan enters this 1-mile event on February 16th with the sixth fastest seed time. And she believes she can win.
"I want to win," Ward said. "I think if I go out there and run the kind of race I'm capable of running, I can win."
Regan Ward's track career won't end after high school either. She'll sign her National Letter of Intent to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville this Wednesday.
For more information on the Millrose Games, click here for their offical website.