As Alex Reed prepares to leave for Wichita State University on scholarship, he departs as one of Great Bend High School’s greatest track and field athletes ever.
His resume’ is impeccable.
• Reed won three straight Class 5A state championships in the 400-meter dash, including a school record of 48.37 seconds during his sophomore year.
• Reed won a 200 crown as a sophomore, tying the school record in a time of 21.7 that spring.
• Reed also set the school record in the long jump during his sophomore campaign (23-10).
“It’s awesome because you know, there isn’t too many people that say that they won three in a row,” said Reed, alluding to his 400 titles. “To be up with the great runners that have passed through here, that’s pretty awesome to say that I’m as good as those people on the wall (the list of school-record holders in the hallway at GBHS).”
What made his three-peat even more impressive was the fact that he captured the 400 crown this past spring after coming back from a devastating knee injury during district play against Salina Central during the football season. He completed his trifecta on May 28 at Cessna Stadium in Wichita, clocking a winning time of 48.73 seconds, just shy of six months from having surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee.
“When I first started running (after the surgery), I said to myself, ‘Wow, this might not happen this year,’ ” Reed said. “I just could not get to where I wanted to be at. I had to go at a pace that I really didn’t want to go at.
“I wanted to go at my pace, which was a little more, but after a couple weeks my knee started getting stronger and stronger. Before I knew it, I was doing what I wanted to do at my pace and it got me to where I could win another state championship.”
Athletes like Reed don’t come through the hallways at GBHS very often.
“It’s going to be a long time before anybody duplicates what he did,” deadpanned Great Bend football/track and field coach Bo Black. “He has a lot of god-given ability and god-given genetics from his parents (Sebon and Jackie Reed).
“You add his work ethic, and that’s what separates the really good ones from the great ones. He’s starting all over (at WSU). He was a superstar at Great Bend High School, but now he’s going to go and participate with runners that were all standouts at their high schools.”
At the outset of the summer, Reed received a workout schedule from the NCAA Division I-A Shockers to adhere by.
“Some days they want me to jog and some days you have short sprints,” Reed said. “And other days, I have long sprints. Sometimes I run eight 200s and then the next day I might run 12 100s on the field (at Memorial Stadium).
“I do about 20 minutes of stretching and then I jog two-to four laps around the track for a warmup. I have my sprint-form run drills to warm up and then I start my workout.”
Reed, a 6-foot-2, 168-pounder, leaves for Wichita State on Aug. 17.
“When you come to practice, you’ve got to be ready to go,” Reed said You can’t be out of shape and not doing anything all summer.”
The long jump, something he didn’t compete in past spring because of his knee, is one of the events that the Shockers want him to compete in.
“My expectation is to come out and do my best in my freshman season,” Reed said. “So far, I’m pretty sure they’re going to have me do the long jump and run a leg on the 4x4 (4x400-meter relay).
“I’m not sure if I’ll be ready for the 200 my freshman year quite yet,” Reed said. “It might take another year of training through the program.
“It’s also going to take a lot of hard work to get there (in the 400 during his freshman year). At college, everybody is going to be just as good as you or better.”
Reed has also spent some of the summer working under Great Bend’s Robert Williams.
“Robert Williams is a trainer that conducts workouts out at StoneRidge Golf Course inside the clubhouse and I’ve been going to him for a little while,” Reed said. “We do a lot of core strength training, and we do squats with medicine balls.
“We do a lot of cross-training. It kind of keeps your muscles guessing and it works really good.”
Reed attributes a chunk of his high school success to Black.
“This is a really good story,” he said. “During my sophomore year, (Black) saw me run some 400s and he really liked it,” Reed recalled. “He came up to me and said, ‘You know what, we’re going to get a 48 out of you,’ and so you know what happened, I got a 48.3.
“I don’t know what it is. He just has this power to bring the best out of everyone. It’s been great and to have him as my high school coach, I wouldn’t ask for any other coach besides Coach Black.”