Great Bend High School standout Alex Reed endured a kaleidoscope of emotions during his final track and field season.
Reed opened the campaign coming off a major knee injury from the football season, where he tore the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee during district play.
Reed, a Wichita State University signee, endured the aches and pains during the regular season to lower his time in the 400-meter dash, an event where he was the two-time defending state champion.
Although he finished second at the Class 5A regional meet to Mikel Anderson of Wichita West, Reed stepped to the forefront when it mattered most.
Reed clocked 48.73 seconds in his specialty on Saturday afternoon at Cessna Stadium to blow away the competition and win the 400 crown for the third straight year at the state track and field meet.
Anderson (49.72) held on for second place, Hays’ Ebu Camara (49.86) placed third and LaRay Young, out of Schlagle in Kansas City, Kan., took fourth (49.91) — the pecking order of the star-studded field.
“After last week, I didn’t know what was going to happen at state,” said Reed, still trying to catch his breath. “And then all of a sudden, you get here and you get that third straight state championship.
“It’s amazing. I can’t believe all that I went through. The surgery and the weeks of therapy and it came down to this. It means so much. There’s not too many people that can say they’re a three-time state champion.”
Great Bend head coach Bo Black beamed while talking about his hands-down top competitor.
“It is a big accomplishment,” Black said. “Getting second last week at the regional meet and then qualifying and getting beat (Friday) in the prelims … he just ran a great race (on Saturday).
“It’s a perfect ending for him, and I thought it was really good for him to be in Lane 3. He had two kids in front of him, the kid (Anderson) that beat him last week at regionals and the kid that beat him Friday (Camara) in the prelims.”
Having the aforementioned runners on his radar throughout helped Reed, according to Black.
“He got to run inside of them and seeing them the whole race, he knew where they were at. But, like I said, he blew away the field in the end,” Black said.
Reed said he was able to take control in the middle of the curve before the runners came down the home stretch.
“This was my last race of my high school career and I might as well go out there and finish as hard as I can,” he said.
“It feels so great.”