orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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July 1, 2014

LC-M grad Reed 'rolling' for the Tide

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — While he was throwing the discus and the shot put at Little Cypress-Mauriceville, the progression of Hayden Reed was extremely fun to watch.

For four years, he just got better and better as a Bear and by the time he was a senior, everyone else was battling for second, including the entire state.

Reed, with his tireless work ethic, is arguably the best field event male Orange County has ever seen. He won four Class 4A state medals, three gold and one silver in his last two years in Green and Gold.

After he graduated, he took his talents to the University of Alabama. After he redshirted his freshman year, Reed turned himself into the “Beast of Tuscaloosa.”

The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind for the Alabama star.

Last Friday night, he captured first-place in the discus competition at the USA Track & Field (USATF) Championships in Sacramento, California.

Reed, the 2014 NCAA outdoor discus champion who also won the 2013 USATF Junior Championships and the 2013 Pan-American Junior Championships, was a surprise winner against a field of seasoned, veteran athletes in his first nationals competition at the open/Olympic level. Reed won the event with a throw of 204 feet (62.19 meters) on his second attempt of the competition.

"That last round was nerve racking, (just) like NCAAs except every single thrower in the lineup today was capable of getting a farther throw," Reed said. "I'm incredibly excited to have the privilege of competing against the best athletes in the nation."

Reed, a native of Orange, Texas, competed as a redshirt freshman for the Crimson Tide during the 2014 season.

Earlier this month, Reed took first-place in the NCAA Outdoor Championships, winning with a throw of 205 feet, 10 inches, which was seven inches longer than second-place.

Reed's throw, the last of his six throws, was good enough to beat two-time champion Julian Wruck of UCLA. Reed became just the second freshman in NCAA history to win the discus championship and first since 1999.

He's the third thrower in program history to win an NCAA Championship.

"That last one was a big one and that's when it needed to be done," Reed said in a university press release. "After that throw, (Wruck) still had one to go, that was the longest three minutes of my life."

Reed won state for the Bears in 2012 with a throw of 196-2. His best throw as a Battlin’ Bear came as a senior when he tossed the discus 201-6 in a regional qualifiers meet in Port Arthur.

Reed, who was the Orange Leader Male Athlete of the Year in 2012, was an excellent football player at LC-M but he always realized that track was part of his future at the collegiate level.

“For me, I always had the dream of playing college football and I had some schools looking at me pretty hard after my junior season,” said Reed. “Then, all of a sudden, I started receiving information about schools looking at me for track. Most of the schools that were looking at me for football were smaller schools but then those big schools started to seek me in track and I knew I wanted to go in that direction.”

Alabama was an easy choice as Reed is enjoying campus and making good grades, which was also something he did well while attending LC-M.

“Alabama has great tradition in all there sports,” said Reed. “The football atmosphere there is the best in the country. The facilities are top-notch for all the sports. They have so many things to do around the campus, it’s not all about sports. They have a great academic system there. It is the perfect place for me to be.”

The Reed family is far from done at LC-M. Hayden’s brother Ethan, an all-district caliber offensive lineman for the Bears, captured bronze in the discus last season with a 171-1 effort as he looks forward to a strong senior campaign.

 

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