Based on his past, it comes as no surprise that Alex Reed overcame injuries to come through this spring in the 400-meter dash for the Wichita State University track and field team.
Reed, a sophomore, captured second place last month at the Missouri Valley Conference outdoor meet, clocking 47.94 seconds, almost a carbon-copy time of his freshman campaign.
“It felt awesome,” Reed said in a telephone interview. “Any time you can step on the stand ... only the top three get there.
“To come from third place as a freshman and step up to second place as a sophomore, that’s a big confidence booster for me for my next two years.”
Reed, a three-time Class 5A state champion and school-record holder in the 400 (48.37) at Great Bend High School (2008-11), overcame nagging hamstring and knee woes to establish his top 400 time of the season.
“It played out pretty well,” Reed said. “I was dealing with some hamstring problems and a little knee trouble. I had to go in and do some therapy for it here and there, and I just kept working.
“I started running better 400s at the end of the season. I guess I peaked at the right time, like I usually do.”
Rewind to Reed’s illustrious high school career. After suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament and partial meniscus tear in his left knee during a 5A district football game at Salina Central in 2010, he had surgery on Nov. 5 of that year and later signed an NCAA Division-I scholarship to compete for the Shockers on March 30, 2011.
Reed then put a cherry on top of his remarkable comeback by winning his third straight 400 crown, just under six months after suffering the major injury.
After a freshman campaign that saw Reed establish a personal-best 48.1 in one of his first meets of the outdoor season, he dropped his time to 47.9 at the MVC meet and placed third, narrowly missing the national-qualifying time of 47.3.
Also the school-record holder in the long jump at GBHS (23-10¼ in 2010), Reed switched to the other foot and began jumping off his right leg during his freshman year at WSU, hitting the 22-foot plateau.
Last winter, during the indoor season at WSU, Reed returned to his old form, jumping off his left leg and turning in 23-3 in his first meet back.
“That’s when I injured my hamstring,” Reed said. “I actually didn’t compete at all the rest of the indoor season.
“I medically red-shirted, so after my senior year, I have an extra indoor season.”
Reed persevered through the therapy sessions, and he was able to step it up a notch during the stretch run of the outdoor season.
His fire has been lit once again, although it’s never flickered.
“I’ll start lifting again in a few days before I get into some running,” Reed said. “We start working out again after the Fourth of July.
“The long jump is one of the first events I started out doing when I first got into track, so I want to keep at it, if I can.”