Colleen Reynolds had one goal in mind heading into her 400-meter dash finals last Saturday at the Division III state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
“I wanted something better than fifth place in the 400,” the Gibsonburg sophomore said, just a few minutes after placing fifth in the 100. “I wasn’t really happy with my 100 place. I wanted to get higher up, so I just went for it.”
Reynolds accomplished her goal, winning the 400 in a career-best time of 56.57 seconds. Her previous best was the 57.66 she ran to win the regional title the week before.
|Gibsonburg sophomore Colleen Reynolds turns
the corner on her way to winning a Division III
400 meter state championship. (Photo by
“A few girls from different regionals ran 56s,” Reynolds said, “and I knew I had to cut my time down. I was really happy with myself. I didn’t expect to win the 400. I was kind of going for the 200 (state title) all year. The prelims proved that my best shot was in the 400. I was third coming into the finals in the 400.”
Reynolds, who led the Golden Bears’ girls track team in scoring this season, also placed fifth in the 200 (25.74) shortly after capturing the 400 state title.
“It definitely paid off, working all winter long,” Reynolds said. “It just really paid off. The season went really fast and it’s kind of a relief that it’s over. We’ve been running since January and my legs are pretty sore. I’m glad its over, definitely.”
Reynolds is just the second Gibsonburg athlete to win an individual state title, and the only one in track and field. Bears wrestler Paul Sanchez won a state title in 1982, according to Gibsonburg boys and girls track coach Glenn Owens.
Reynolds qualified to the state meet in the 200 last year as a freshman. Her twin sister, Kendall, qualified in the 400 a year ago. Colleen took ninth in the 200, while Kendall did not qualify for the 400 finals.
Owens said he didn’t necessarily think Colleen’s best shot to win a state title would come in the 400, based on other qualifying times from around the state.
“Maybe the 100,” Owens said, “because her (qualifying) time was pretty close to the top time. She hit the mark we were looking for (in the 400). I gave her a time at the 200 mark we wanted to get to. She hit that mark and was the first runner at the 200 mark. I gave her a time of 27 (seconds) to get to the 200 mark and she came in at 27.2, and she had a really good finish. I thought she had a good shot.”
Reynolds said the 400 seemed like a blur.
“I didn’t hear him yell out a time,” she said of her coach. “I just heard him say, ‘Go!’I knew I had to push through the last 200 meters, and I got there. I think I was leading at 200. Once I was at 20 meters left, I didn’t see anybody around me so I figured I had it. It felt really good. I couldn’t believe it. I was going for the 200 all year. It’s always been my favorite race. I guess the 400 was just my better race this year at the end.”
Owens said Reynolds’ improvement on the track from last year to this year can partially be attributed to the fact she ran cross country for the Golden Bears last fall.
“Cross country got her into really good shape, starting with the indoor season,” Owens said. “I just think she’s in greater shape this year. One of my assistant coaches (Beth Kohler) is the cross crountry head coach, and we encouraged her and her sister (to run cross country). I think her sister was on board more than Colleen was. Once she got into it, she excelled and did really well.”
Colleen was Gibsonburg’s second or third runner last fall and helped the Bears reach the regional meet. She plans to continue to run cross country in 2013.
“The team was so close and everybody supported each other,” she said. “I went out in order to stay in good shape. People say it’s not a good sport for sprinters, but we proved them wrong. I didn’t think I was going to like it at first, but I learned to love it.”