Hailey Allen has done a lot of running for Millsap High School.
And it has taken her to Australia, or it will come this summer.
Allen has been invited to participate in the Down Under Sports Tournament hosted on the Gold Coast of Australia. She will be representing Texas in track and field.
"I am still in shock, but very excited to learn and work with some of the best athletes," Allen said. "This is a chance I may never get again, and I am ready to put everything I have into it to make Texas proud."
Allen, 16, is a junior at Millsap High School. She advanced to the Class 3A Region I Meet as a sophomore. She also ran cross country as both a freshman and sophomore, skipping this past season, but planning to return.
"It conflicted with volleyball and I wanted to give it a try, but after doing so I realized how much I missed cross country," she said. "So I am training over the summer and running it next year."
Allen began running track in sixth grade because, simply, "I liked to run."
"It builds endurance and speed that I can use in other sports as well," she said.
Unlike a lot of other athletes, Allen does not compete on a summer track team. She is, however, involved in Beta; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; Upward Bound; varsity volleyball, basketball and softball.
And now, her horizons are about to be expanded much more, said her high school track coach Victor Pyle.
"Having spent time in several other countries myself, this would be a great learning experience for her (or anyone)," Pyle said. "International competition is very different. People in other countries have a different approach to training and competition.
"Any time a student/athlete has an opportunity to broaden their horizons it can only help them. Anything that benefits a student/athlete, the school and community also benefits."
Allen credited Pyle with her chance for this rare opportunity.
"He has believed in me 100 percent, and has taken time out of his summers and his mornings to personally train me, and he mentors me, among other students," she said. "Millsap is lucky to have such an amazing coach. I wouldn’t have the confidence I have today without him."
Allen believes the competition will help expand her confidence when she competes here at home. And while she gets no academic credit for the trip, she does see educational benefits.
"I will have the ability to learn the culture of Australia," said Allen, who has never previously left the United States.
Making the adventure a reality will involve some finances, however. Allen is selling T-shirts as a fundraiser, and she has a donation board set up on the Down Under website for donations that are a tax write-off for anyone who contributes.
"We are also going to put on a huge garage sale in March, and are going to be asking for donations, and all proceeds will be going to the trip," she said.
She needs to raise around another $4,600 for the trip. She also hopes to raise enough money so her mother can join her in support.
"Once mine is paid for they allow supporters to come for the same price, so we are going to try and raise enough so my mom can come support me during this once-in-a-lifetime chance," Allen said.
Those interested can visit DownUnderSports.com/payment/2356-5702-0298 or call 435-753-4732.