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Falcon hurdles star optimistic for outdoor season

March 13, 2008

UW-River Falls junior Jessica Reed, a member of the women’s indoor and outdoor track team, has set two school records and looks to continue her success this season.

Reed participates in the hurdles on both the indoor and outdoor women’s track teams, the hurdles. With the indoor team she does the 55-meter hurdles and on the outdoor team she does the 100-meter hurdles. Reed does occasionally take part in relays and the open 200-meter dash, but hurdles have long been her biggest interest.

Reed has been a member of a track and field team ever since she was in junior high school. She explained what made track and field interesting to her at such a young age. She said it was one of the only sports offered for that age group. And she stuck with it.

“I got moved up to varsity as an eighth grader. My coaches were like, ‘Here, this is what you’re going to do.’ Ever since then it’s been my passion,” Reed said.

Another reason Reed is interested in track is how close the Falcon women’s team has grown to become.

Reed discussed what the transition was like for her from high school to Div. III college athletics. She explained that although the “training is more intense and it’s more disciplined,” she didn’t experience much difficulty with it because of the support her fellow teammates offered her.

“Track isn’t like any other sport. We’re more of a family than anything,” Reed said. 

Reed has broken two school records in her first three years at UWRF. She currently holds the record for the indoor track 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8.45, which she broke in 2007. She also holds the record for the outdoor track 100-meter hurdles, which she initially broke as a freshman and broke again with a time of 14.75 in 2007. 

With a great kickstart to the 2008 indoor season, Reed provisionally qualified for the NCAA Div. III Indoor National Meet with her top finish at the UW-Stout Invitational Jan. 26. Unfortunately, Reed’s provisional qualifying time just missed the cutoff for nationals by fractions of a second. 

Reed is currently the conference champion in women’s 55-meter hurdles after taking first place at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference meet March 1.

Individually, Reed admits to having had a few difficulties with starts this year in the indoor track events.

“I’m making little changes, and sometimes with those little changes you hit rough patches,” Reed said. “Hurdles are so technical; any little change makes a big difference.”

“This year my starts weren’t that good,” Reed said. “In 55, once you get going, you’re done. With 100, you have time to catch up.”

As a whole, the Falcon track and field teams have been good this season.  Seniors Vicki Cooper and Krista Hasselquist have been doing well in shot put throws and will be going to nationals this year.

Becca Jordahl has also qualified for nationals in the 5,000-meter run.

On the men’s side, Nick Zeien will also be competing at nationals in the men’s 800-meter dash, according to the Falcon Athletics Web site.

The outdoor track and field teams will start their season with the Alabama relays the last weekend in March. As the 2008 indoor track and field season winds down, Reed is preparing herself for the outdoor track and field season.  She and her teammates have already started training. Reed is optimistic, eyeing the outdoor team’s potential for success.

“I’m really excited. Our girls team could do very well,” Reed said. “If everyone does as well as we could, our women’s team could win nationals.”

The NCAA Div. III Indoor National Meet will take place Friday and Saturday.