'Ready for the Challenge'

'Ready for the Challenge'

Nathan Reid goes to Wyoming

BY PAUL A REID
Observer West writer

Thursday, June 25, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James -A relentless drive to make the world a better place to live, and to create a better version of himself, has resulted in Nathan Reid acceptance of a track and field scholarship to the University of Wyoming, a long way from his Montego Bay home.

Reid will have big shoes to fill when he gets to the western US state, as he will seek to follow in the footsteps of Olympians Mason Finley of the US and Canadian Jason Gervais. But the former Cornwall College and Petersfield High thrower says he is ready for the challenge.

It has been a wild last 12 months for Reid who was unable to get any offers a year ago, but had at least four offers this year after improving his personal best in the discus throw by over 4 metres, and also improving his SAT scores to 1240.

“My decision to move forward under the University of Wyoming's guidance stemmed from my belief that throws coach [Carrie] Lane would be the right individual to bring my potential to fruition. My more cardinal grounds for choosing Wyoming is due to them offering a stellar education in a field that both my ambitions, likewise the world, is heading towards—renewable energy engineering,” he told the Jamaica Observer West earlier this week.

It's the chance to pursue a degree in renewable energy engineering, Reid stressed, that made the difference for him.

“Separate from the obvious implications of traditional forms of energy production, I chose this field of study because I've always had a passion for the world of physics, particularly in the field of innovative energy production. I would like to bring about a revolution in the way energy is created, sold and consumed in my country, and if possible, the wider world at large,” he argued.

Inspired by the academic achievements of his former Cornwall College teammates who are attending schools in the US, Reid, who is the son of Icolyn Reid, the senior magistrate in Westmoreland, and Dalton Reid, a well-known attorney in Montego Bay, said he hopes to combine success in the classroom and on the track.

“As far as sports is considered, my short-term goal, upon completion of the first year of school, is to at least equal my Class One personal best in the discus throw (53.52m) with the heavier implement, and also to learn a new event, the weight throw,” said Nathan.

“My long-term goal, upon the attainment of my bachelor's in renewable energy engineering [a three-year course], I hope to break the 60.00m barrier in discus, likewise become nationally proficient at the weight throw.”

It was a different story a year ago, however, as after completing grade 13th at Cornwall College, there were no offers, and he was contemplating enrolling in a local institution.

“It has been quite a journey. Between the difficulties faced in my efforts to increase my personal bests, to the mental tribulations experienced throughout these last two seasons, dubbing my journey an educational experience would be a gross understatement,” he argued.

At the end of last season, Reid's personal best in the discus was under 50.00m and his SAT score was 1190, but because of his age, 18 at the time, he could repeat grade 13th, given he had a final year as a junior.

A year later, he was 'cleared' by the NCAA Eligibility Centre in February and was offered several scholarships by the time the signing period opened.

“In all honesty, I'm still incapable of grasping the full depth of my blessings, seeing that for years, this is what my dream was, embracing this reality still feels mostly surreal,” he stated.

Nathan, who had his first brush with athletics when he started Cornwall College, pointed out that he was influenced to take the sport seriously by his then best friend.

“I had a few encounters with the harsh realities of track and field during my earlier years in high school. It was in 2016, at the coercion of my then best friend, that I began to take track and field seriously,” said Nathan.

“I began throwing because that was what my friend was doing. Despite my body type being on the larger side of the spectrum at the time [and now], perhaps, if he was a jumper, I would have followed him and received a scholarship for jumping instead.”

As a thrower, he has competed in both the shot put and discus, and was a finalist in Class two at Champs in 2016 in the discus throw. He noted, however, that it's the shot put that he really enjoys.

“Forced to choose between both, I wholeheartedly prefer discus,” he said.

“Initially, I had started with shot put. However, after four years of no significant progress, and a dysfunctional wrist as brittle as the icing on the cake, I had lost most of my passion for it. However, the unerring nail in the coffin for my shot put relationship came about when I began learning the discus in late 2018 [as a result of my shot put wrist injury]. The discus throw really rekindled the flame inside me for track and field,” he explained.

He said the last two seasons have been crucial for him.

“Of the last two seasons, my most prominent highlights would have been Penn Relays 2019 where I made the finals and Wint/McKenley track meet 2020, respectively. These meets really stood out in not only my track career, as I had a personal best at both of these meets, but they also signified personal growth,” he argued.

“Throughout the last four years of my track and field career, I have been plagued with performance anxiety until recently, and have had no effective means of grappling with it. The successes I achieved at these meets gave me invaluable insights into who I am as a human, and ultimately, aided me in becoming a better version of Nathan Reid.”

Last year, with no offers from US colleges, but with a year in hand, Reid took a controversial decision to transfer to Petersfield High where he hoped he would get the chance to improve his throws, given he had already completed his high school academics.

“There comes a time in life when one has to make a difficult decision in order to move forward. Luckily for me, this wasn't one of them,” he said.

“Mr Woolery, the head coach at Petersfield High School, and an expert in the throwing ring, was eager to produce another top-class thrower, and saw the potential in me. He had the resources and knowledge to make my dreams a reality, and due to pre-existing chemistry, it would have been my pleasure to be a member of his team. As such, going to Petersfield wasn't necessarily one of my choices, in my eyes, it was the choice.”


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