published Sunday, September 30th, 2012

McMinn's Haley Ward chooses Ole Miss

  • photo
    McMinn Cross country all-star Haley Ward poses for best of preps.
    Photo by Jenna Walker /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

When Brian O'Neal took the head cross country coaching job at the University of Mississippi, he brought a lot of confidence with him from the University of Florida. It was extremely infectious — especially on current McMinn County High School senior Haley Ward.

The reigning Class AAA individual state champion recently committed to continue her running career at Ole Miss.

Doubling as a four-year soccer starter and McMinn's all-time leading goal scorer, Ward has run in only one meet this season. That was Saturday, when she won the McCallie Invitational girls' title by 14 seconds.

"I haven't heard another coach that had the same goals as me," she said. "He knows I can be a good runner even though I've played other sports."

Ward, who picked Ole Miss over offers from Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama, has high expectations for the rest of this year and her collegiate career as well.

"I want to win state again with a time of around 17:45," she said. "When I get to Ole Miss, I want to be All-SEC as a freshman, and while I'm there I want a team championship and an individual championship."

McMinn County coach Tim Smith said his last individual state champion before Ward — Laura Koob in 2002 — let him handle most of her recruiting. Not Ward.

"It's a humbling experience seeing the letters and emails from schools recruiting her," Smith said. "I'm a competitive person — almost to a fault — and Haley's just as competitive as I am. A runner like her doesn't come around often; she eats right, trains right and does everything she needs to win."

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement

Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.