When Regan Rome tries to explain why she is headed to William & Mary University to continue her cross country and track and field careers, she has to sort through “millions of reasons.”
Despite all the time and accomplishments he has shared with Rome, Dallas coach Matt Samuel quickly finds one memory when talking about what the senior distance runner has meant to the programs he leads.
In the moments after Rome completed a season-long battle with injuries and illness to finish second in the state in Class 2A girls at the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Cross Country Champions in Hershey in November, she was still showing her determination. Celebrating a fourth individual state medal or thinking about coming up one step short of her own state championship were not part of her thought process.
Rome pushed the limits of rules and meet management to get as close as she could to the Mountaineers teammates following close behind. She was there to encourage the remaining runners who finished off the effort to lift Dallas to a state team championship, a year after falling three points short of that achievement.
The strength of the Dallas team was on display March 14 when four members of the track and field program gathered for photos and a signing ceremony celebrating their college commitments. Rome has led the way throughout her career as a four-time District 2 and Wyoming Valley Conference champion and a two-time Foot Locker National qualifier in cross country, setting her up for the opportunity run cross country and both indoor and outdoor track on the NCAA Division I level.
William & Mary, the Williamsburg, Va. university where she will study mathematics, was her choice of destination.
“The team and coaches are just so nice,” said Rome, who also has PIAA third-, fourth-, and sixth-place state medals in track as a 3200-meter runner and two top-three finishes in the coaches association state indoor championships. “The team is real close, like a family, down there.
“It kind of fits everything about me. It’s a team-first mentality. It’s a really good distance program. The academics are great. It’s a good balance of academics and athletics being important.”
Although she does well as a high school 1600-meter runner and running 800-meter relay legs, Rome expects to get into greater distances in college. Cross country switches from five to six kilometers in college and two longer races, the 5,000 and 10,000 are added to the outdoor track schedule.
A strong indoor season, which she capped with a second-place state finish at 3000 meters, has Rome healthier and ready for her final outdoor high school track season.
“Things are really going well,” she said. “They have been the past few months.
“I just finished a really good indoor season. I just want to get my PRs down as much as possible.”