Alex Reed has weathered it all in his senior year at Great Bend High School.
Reed, the two-time Class 5A defending state champion in the 400-meter dash in track and field, blew out the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee during a district football game last fall at Salina Central on October 22.
After the swelling finally subsided, Reed had major reconstructive knee surgery on Nov. 5. Remarkably, six-plus months later, Reed might be even faster than what he was before the injury.
“He’s back to full-speed and he looks better than he’s ever looked before,” Great Bend head coach Bo Black said. “Before the surgery, after the surgery, he’s the strongest he’s ever been as a runner right now.”
The Wichita State University signee has excelled in the 400 despite less-than-ideal weather conditions during the entire spring season. Reed and his GBHS teammates are headed to a regional meet today in Wichita at Austin Stadium on the Friends University campus. Bishop Carroll is the host for the regional, which starts at 3 p.m.
“I think the biggest thing is, he’s 100 percent healthy right now and he’s ready to go,” Black said of Reed. “He really dominated the field last week (at the Western Athletic Conference meet in Dodge City on May 12) with some really good runners running in terrible weather.”
Reed’s winning 400 time at the WAC meet was 49.4, one week removed from running his second-fastest time ever (48.59) at Salina Central on May 6.
“He’s full-speed, and if we get the weather this week or at the state track meet, he’s going to go low,” Black said. “If we get the perfect or warm weather at the state track meet, he’ll break the 5A state record for the 400, which I think is 48.04.
“He’s going to get down into the 47 range. It’s his race to win.”
If you like to compare times, Reed won the 400 crown at the state meet in 2010, clocking 49.36.
Reed, who also won the state crown in the 200 two seasons ago, owns two school records — 48.37 in the 400 and 23-10 in the long jump.
Reed also was the WAC champion in the 200 (22.80) at Dodge City. Naturally, it won’t come as any surprise if he comes away with pair of regional crowns today.
The long jump is a competition Reed has shied away from this season because of the injury.
Jacy Quade, a senior, will be gunning for dual regional crowns in the shot put and discus. She had WAC-winning throws of 36-7 ¾ and 126-11, respectively.
Rubi Torres, also a senior, won the 1,600 run and 3,200 run at the WAC meet, making her a two-time champion in those events. Torres figures to have a shot at winning a regional crown, as well as Hannah Wondra in the 400. She has a personal best of 1:01.99.
GBHS pole vaulters Chris Burley and Simon Sullivan also figure to be in the hunt for state berths, while the Lady Panthers’ Hannah Middleton is coming of a personal-best 9-6, which gave her the WAC championship.
Burley cleared 13-0 to capture the WAC crown and Sullivan placed second with a vault of 12-6. Both have established season-bests of 13-0.
“We fully expect Chris and Simon , as well as Hannah Middleton on the girls side, to have a good day in the pole vault and also have a chance to make it on to state,” Black said. “Simon in the javelin as well.
David Simmons, who has season bests of 53-5 ½ in the shot put and 130-11 in discus, also appears to be regional-ready.
Matt Moyd, a junior, is coming off a WAC championship in the 110 hurdles, where he clocked 15.75. His personal best is 15.03
“I think he’s in the mix in one of the most competitive races that will be at that regional,” Black said. “There will be a lot of very good 110 hurdlers in there and it’s going to be a great race on Friday.”
Moyd also has a personal-best time of 11.08 in the 100-meter dash, and took home second place at the WAC meet, clocking 11.63. Sheldon LeShore’s top time this year is 11.23.
“We have a lot of depth in different events and a lot of kids with a great opportunity to make it to the state track meet and this is what this week is all about,” Black said. “When you run at your conference meet, you really want to pull them together and do everything that you can to win for the team.
“When you get to the regional track meet, you want them to qualify for state as individuals. We’re excited to see how many kids we can get qualified and get to Wichita.”