MISSOULA — Track and field season is underway in Montana, when the weather allows.
Times and marks from around the state are beginning to trickle in, and it's due to be a big season for Missoula Sentinel senior Ruby Lorenz, who is signed to compete at Oregon State after she finishes high school.
"Being able to run in college and represent the people that have helped me along the way and represent Montana, represent myself, it just means a lot just because it's been a long journey," Lorenz told MTN Sports.
Lorenz has always dreamed of competing at the Division I level in track and field. From finding inspiration watching the last three Olympic Trials and USA championships, to competing in both indoor and outdoor, track has always been her passion. She also competes with the Mountain West Track Club in Missoula.
But getting her name out there was paramount, so she took matters into her own hands.
"Originally how I had reached out to the coach is he was posting on the Oregon State Instagram who was committing, and I saw a girl had very similar times to mine so I swiped up, I sent what I had to offer, all of my academics and from there we just had a good conversation," Lorenz said.
"I knew I really wanted to be a Division I level athlete and so I really put in the work, and I faced a lot of adversity throughout high school, but luckily the program with Oregon State, they just saw that potential in me and were excited to work with me so it's always been a huge goal. I really wanted to be a college athlete."
After an official visit and offer, Lorenz landed exactly where she wanted to be, signing with a high-level program in the Pac-12.
"I kind of questioned for a while if I would be able to follow those opportunities at that high of a level, but I was really thankful that it worked out for me, and that (OSU head coach) Louie Quintana saw that potential in me," Lorenz said. "I'm super excited to run for him and the team because that's something I've always dreamed of.
"I did every sport when I was younger and then finally when it came down to choosing indoor track over basketball, I was always going to choose indoor track just because I have the passion for running and the passion for training, and even if I wasn't able to compete, I'd still be out running every day so it's just something that I really enjoy and I couldn't imagine myself going to college and not competing."
The next chapter of her life is set, so for now, it's about focusing on her final season as a Spartan.
Lorenz is a middle distance runner who competes in the 400 and 800. After dealing with sickness that hit toward the end of her junior year, she's now healthy, and it's about taking a patient and calm approach to both races this season.
"Something I've learned is that if you want to win state in the 800, or if you want to run 2:15, or run an amazing time, dwelling on that doesn't get the job done, so for me, it's just about staying healthy and trusting the process and knowing that I have everything I need here to get those goals achieved," Lorenz said. "And so I just need to stay focused, stay relaxed, stay stress free and I think it'll come to me.
"For me, it's been all about patience and being a super competitive athlete, it's a super hard thing to learn but of course coach (Dylan) Reynolds has always told me, 'You need to be patient and you need to trust the process,' so I really bought into the process that Sentinel track had to offer."
Lorenz needed an opportunity, and found it, and it's been special as she enters her final run at Sentinel.
"It's been a long journey and it definitely hasn't been perfect," Lorenz said. "I don't have a long record of huge achievements and things like that, but ultimately those have helped me a lot mentally and now I have a really good mindset and I'm ready to attack this season and then college."