(UPI) -- A Kentucky high school student athlete declined to participate in her team’s cross-country race after she was assigned the number 666, saying it would have gone against her religious beliefs.
Whitley County High School junior Codie Thacker and her coach tried to get her a different number, but race officials denied the request.
Coach Gina Croley knew there might be a problem as soon as she saw the number Thacker had been given. "I saw it and I was like, 'whoa,'" she said. "I don't think she will wear that number."
The number 666 is often associated with the biblical "mark of the beast."
Thacker was looking forward to running, but her high expectations quickly gave way to disappointment. "I've trained since June for this race," Thacker said. “I was so nervous I thought about it all week.”
A Kentucky High School Athletic Association spokesperson said that race officials would have granted Thacker’s request had they been made aware it was for religious reasons.
"I told them to mark out my name because it makes me sick just thinking that my name is associated with that number," Thacker said. "I didn't want to risk my relationship with God and try to take that number.”