All the hard work, the sweat and strain of grueling regular-season drills have diminished.
As the Great Bend High School track and field team readies for the Class 5A portion of the state championships this weekend at Cessna Stadium in Wichita, the practice load has been reduced drastically.
The Panthers have 19 state qualifiers, including two alternates, and have some that are competing in multiple events.
“Basically, the training is over with,” Great Bend head coach Bo Black said. “It’s just a week to rest up and get your legs back underneath you. We’ve come out every day and stretched and make sure we’re feeling real good.
“The hard training is over and it’s to the point where it’s time to back off and run with courage and know what challenges that lay ahead. We’re going to get where we’re peaking at the right time.”
• Alex Reed
The two-time defending state champion in the 400 and a one-time champion in the 200, Reed, a senior, will be eyeing the ultimate hardware once again in his final run. The senior mainstay will also be running on the Panthers’ 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays.
“Alex has been the face for our boys track team here since his freshman year,” said Black of the Wichita State University signee, who has overcome a devastating injury to his left knee during football season. “He’s just been such an outstanding student-athlete.
“The kid is going to have a lot of gold medals in the closet somewhere and the fake gold, I’m sure, will tarnish along the way. But he’s just a golden kid and you know, that’s not going to tarnish. He’s just such a positive impact.”
• Matt Moyd
The versatile Moyd, a junior, will be competing in the 110 hurdles — his specialty — along with the 100 and anchoring the 4x100 relay team.
“Matt Moyd is a great athlete, maybe the best athlete in the school,” Black said. “He’s got a lot of explosiveness.”
Moyd is the regional champion in the 110 hurdles, coming off a personal best of 15.03 seconds. He dominated a marquee field that included Hays’ Adam Deterding. The top time in 5A this season is by Deterding (14.86).
“We’ve talked about how important that race is and how close it’s been all year, he’s kind of dominated it the last two weeks,” Black said of Moyd, who also beat Deterding at the Western Athletic Conference meet on May 12 in Dodge City. Moyd’s winning time was 15.75, and Deterding clocked 15.86.
“It will be interesting to see how it plays out this weekend,” Black said.