MUNCIE — The athleticism and drive have always been there for Ball State sophomore Regan Lewis. She just needed a little extra push.
Upping her training from the high school ranks, Lewis, a 2015 Greenfield-Central graduate, began thoroughly lifting weights for the first time when she arrived on campus. The results have been telling.
With her eyes set on 6-0, Lewis recently broke the Ball State high jump record at the Indoor Mid-American Conference meet on Feb. 24. With a leap of 5-11.25, Lewis finished second overall to earn Second Team All-MAC honors.
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Nikki Manson, a senior from Akron, won the meet with one less scratch at the same height. Lewis missed her first attempt, while Manson needed just one try.
“It was just me and (Nikki) left,” Lewis said. “I got it on my second attempt, and I was really excited when I cleared it. I have been trying to get it all season.”
Lewis’ jump topped the previous indoor record at Ball State held by both Ashley Gillies (2002) and Susan Setlack (2000). But it wasn’t the first record-breaking performance of her career.
Lewis became Greenfield-Central’s first athlete to place at four consecutive state finals and currently holds the program mark of 5-09. She finished fifth at state as a freshman and never went above seventh place in one of the most decorated track and field careers at the school. She also qualified for state on the 1,600-meter relay team.
“Regan did whatever she needed to do to help the team,” former Greenfield-Central track coach Jan Hacker said. “She was extremely coachable and has this tenacious work ethic. When you combined that with her fierce competitive spirit, it made her so much fun to coach.
“She is not just a talented athlete, but she is extremely intelligent with a wonderful heart.”
Also as a senior, Lewis broke the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet record with a jump of 5-08. The old record was set in 1994 by Kristi Thomason of Hamilton Southeastern.
A standout basketball player at Greenfield-Central, as well, Lewis said adding more intense training, which focuses solely on her event, has made the difference. Also, with added repetition, she feels more confident — and consistent — in her approach.
However, Lewis said she still believes she has yet to reach her full potential. In order to become one of the best in the country, she said, clearing 6-0 is the standard.
Lewis just missed an opportunity to reach that height at the NCAA Indoor Champions on March 18. Her current height puts her at No. 20 in the country, while only the top 16 receive an invite to nationals. With the outdoor season approaching, she still has plenty of time to do so.
“I’ve gotten a lot stronger (with weight lifting),” Lewis said. “I want to go as high as I can, but I want to break 6-0 this year. That would be a big milestone to get. After that, I just want to see what I can do.
“If you want to get to nationals, you need to jump 6-0. Working on little things in practice with my form, that I didn’t even know I was doing (wrong), helps me be more consistent and in the right mindset at meets.”
During the outdoor season, Lewis also will participate in the javelin throw. Ball State will kick off its season at the Stan Lyons Invitational at Butler on March 18. The outdoor conference meet is scheduled for May 11 and the NCAA Championships for May 25.