RICHMOND, INDIANA — Seth Reynolds experienced the best and worst with the Indiana University East men’s track and field team this season.
In the end, the best shone brightest, and Reynolds was honored as the IU East Men’s Athlete of the Year from 2018-19. It’s the third straight year that he has received the award.
“Seth means a great deal to our program,” IU East coach Gus Schmader said. “He was the first indoor All-American, outdoor All-American and multiple time All-American. It will be tough for someone else to duplicate his performances on the track.”
The highs this year came during the indoor season.
“Indoor season was amazing,” Reynolds said. “I had so much fun. We got to travel to New York, SPIRE (near Cleveland) and South Dakota. I started the year off hot, after the first two weeks I had the second-fastest time in the nation. From that point, I had very consistent times and knew I had a chance to make it to the finals at nationals.”
“Going to nationals I still had some hip and ankle issues from earlier in the season, which affected my warm-ups some,” Reynolds continued.
“However, I was fortunate enough to squeeze into the last spot of finals. I thought that I was in ninth place after my (preliminaries) race, so when I heard that I was eighth, I went crazy. (The top eight qualify for event finals and All-America honors at nationals).
“It’s one of the best feelings that I have had. All the hard work paid off, all the injuries were worth it. Becoming an All-American was my goal all year for as many events as possible.”
The lowest point came once the Red Wolves started to compete outdoors.
“Outdoor season was the hardest thing I had to do this year,” Reynolds said. “My very first race I hurt my back to the point I could barely walk.
“I am very competitive and hated having to sit in the bleachers and watch everyone else run,” Reynolds added. “Towards the end of the year, I tried to start practicing because I wanted to run at conference and go to outdoor nationals. After two days of trying, there was no way that I was going to be able to run. It was a tough pill to swallow.”
Thanks to a twist of fate, Reynolds will have another opportunity next year. The injury occurred early in the outdoor season, and Reynolds could receive an NAIA injury waiver and be eligible for the 2020 outdoor season.
“Having a guy like that is a coach’s dream,” Schmader said. “I’m excited that we’ll get to have him around for one more year.
“He’s also an excellent student and a great person to be around,” Schmader added. “He cheers on and supports all of his teammates and tries to make light of all of the tough workouts.”
In addition to his fourth time reaching All-American status, Reynolds was named the River States Conference Men’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year in 2019. He won the 60-meter hurdles for the second straight year in 8.25 seconds, which was a meet record. He was also second in the 400 (50.52) and was the leadoff runner on the winning 1,600-meter relay team.
“I am so happy with my overall career,” Reynolds said. “I never thought that I would run the times that I have or achieve what I have. My coaches over the years have been amazing. This sport has been the high point of my college career. I’ve met my best friends through this sport and I got to travel the country. My best memories from college are from this sport. I don’t want to stop running and competing. I still have more that I want to do and just maybe I still can.
“I have a gap year before I go off to school to study physical therapy” he said. “I am in the process of completing applications. But with this year off I hope to run one last year of track. If my body can heal up and take the strain of another year on the track then I’ll do it. I love this sport, I’m more motivated than ever to get healthy, and I want to compete for both the conference championship and opportunities to become an All-American again.”
Schmader is thrilled with the thought of Reynolds returning to the team.
“Seth is a joy to be around,” the Red Wolves’ mentor said. “He very positive, upbeat, and funny. He’s always finding the humor in something and enjoys a good laugh. His personality and positive attitude is infectious. He always had a way of making the guys feel like they can do one more rep and run a little bit faster. They really look up to him and a leader and trust his guidance.”