From Walk-On To Champion
By Liz Murray
Patriot League Intern
In her freshman season, Holy Cross walk-on Tiffany Reid spent each practice getting lapped in warm ups and constantly falling behind. Her season ended two weeks early when she failed to qualify for the 2008 Patriot League Indoor Tack and Field Championships.
Flash forward two years to the 2010 Patriot League Indoor Track and Field Championships. Tiffany was named the Female Track Athlete of the Meet. She won the 60-meter dash and the 200-meter dash, resetting her own school record in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.65 seconds.
The junior English major won both events without running on her right leg for weeks before the event. A pulled groin muscle prevented Tiffany from competing in Holy Cross's final two pre-championship meets. "My coach pulled me out because he thought that Patriots was too close to risk it," Tiffany said.
But Tiffany was prepared. Although running was not an option, Tiffany spent each day rehabilitating with pool and bike workout, and an hour of sports medicine treatment. Such deliberate preparation and dedication is nothing new for Tiffany.
For the Poughkeepsie, New York native, freshman season was, "definitely the most humbling experience of my track career," and her memories, disappointment and frustration are an impetus. "I never forget freshman year," she said. "Every time I am at the track, every time I go to practice, every time I'm at a meet, I never forget the season."
More important, Tiffany remembers the summer after her freshman year, when frustration with her performance inspired her. That summer, Tiffany was up at 6 a.m. every day, following her own training regimen. Her days involved driving twenty minutes to a track, embarking on longer runs, taking multiple exercise classes and having regular lifting sessions. Not to mention that she was also working two jobs.
"I never forget that summer that I really worked hard and made sure that I was going to come back a completely different athlete, mentally and physically."
The work paid off, Tiffany said, "I started to see the improvements when I got back to campus." And Tiffany was able to keep up with her team in practice from the start. She finished the 2009 season a Patriot League Champion in the 200-meter dash, her favorite event.
Seeded second after morning prelims, Tiffany was nervous about her competitor. Tiffany said, "I had been stalking, I guess, the girl I was running against and her times and what she ran. And I was like, `wow, I haven't been close to this time yet. But lets throw all that aside and see what can happen.'" It was the hardest race she has ever run, but one of her proudest moments in track.
For over five minutes after Tiffany won, the time between the race and podium ceremony, the Holy Cross team cheered, jumped and applauded their champion. Tiffany said: "I remember I was sitting by the podium by the other two girls who came in second and third place, and the one was like, `wow, your team is so crazy. Your team is so energetic.'"
Tiffany fuels off of her team support. "I couldn't see myself running for any other school," she said. "I mean, I applied to other schools in the Patriot League but I couldn't see myself running for anyone else but Holy Cross."
Tiffany returns to Holy Cross with her little blue planner and many responsibilities. Besides being a student-athlete and a school-record holder, Tiffany is also co-chair of her school's Black Student Union chapter, a peer-mentor for diverse students, and a residential assistant. She also spent the spring 2009 semester in Washington, D.C. as an intern with the Community Relations Service in the Department of Justice.
Tiffany admits to stress from trying to balance all of her responsibilities. "I try to map out all of my appointments and schedules and adhere to things accordingly, and you have to prioritize and learn to say no to some things because I can't get involved in everything," Tiffany said. "[Time management] is something that I am always working on."
Tiffany's passion lies in civil justice, and she hopes to eventually apply for an Army JAG after graduation.
For now, Tiffany enjoys relating her experience to those she mentors, both on and off the track. One of her mentees is a freshman winter athlete facing performance problems similar to her own. Tiffany said: "She has been having some difficulties with how she has been performing, issues with teammates and coaches. I have definitely been able to relate to her with what I went through personally as an athlete in a similar situation."
Tiffany added, "Having such an interesting first year and such a humbling experience, I love being able to share that."
When underclassmen look to Tiffany for leadership and advice, Tiffany says that she hopes to impress that "if you make the time for the things you that want to make the time for- so where your heart is- you are going to make it work out for you. You can't expect anyone else to lay that out."
She added, "As hard as I have worked and with the records that I currently hold, if that ideology I can share with the girls I am running with right now, and if they use that to break those records, then I couldn't be any happier."