It’s not often freshmen in high school get to see the other side of the world, but Fort Mill High freshman Regan Hodge has that opportunity this coming summer.
Hodge, 14, was selected to be one of 200 runners from across the United States. She will represent South Carolina and Fort Mill High for 10 days of cross-country training and competition in Australia. The one catch is that she needs to raise $5,000 for the trip by May 15 to take part in the once in a lifetime opportunity.
“I am pretty excited,” she said. “I am not trying to get my hopes up until I know I can go.”
Hodge has been running since the sixth grade starting with club track team. In seventh grade, she started to run cross-country for Fort Mill High.
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She was selected for the trip by Down Under Sports, based out of Utah, to represent South Carolina. She will be leaving June 26 and there will be two races as part of the 10 days in Australia. The first race is a Gold Coast Challenge, which is a 5.7 kilometer race and then the All-American 5K meet.
Hodge comes for a family of runners dating back to her grandparents. Her mother, Julie, and aunts, Leigh and Holley, were both successful runners in high school and college as Julie and Leigh were all-conference runners at Appalachian State University and her other aunt, Holley, was an all-conference runner at Furman University.
Hodge was named after her aunt Leigh. Family heritage was one reason she got into running.
“I want to follow in the footsteps of my family,” she said. “Everyone in the generation above me ran and I want to continue that for my family.”
Hodge’s namesake, Leigh, passed away suddenly in 2012 due to complications from pneumonia. Hodge said she wants to continue to make her family proud and knows her aunt would be happy for her.
“She would want this for us,” she said. “I know she would want me to follow in my family’s footsteps and I just want to contribute to that.”
Hodge said she was proud of the strides she made this past season running cross-country with Fort Mill. She plans on running the 800 meters and the mile, and possibly the 400-meter hurdles for track this season. She is also a member of the varsity basketball team at Fort Mill.
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Want to help?
If you would like to help Hodge raise the money she needs for her trip to Australia to represent South Carolina in the Gold Coast Challenge and All-American 5K meet, or to donate directly to her cause, go to DownUnderSports.com/payment/B881-0320-DC0D.