Why Choose WU? Athlete Spotlight Series

Sophomore cross country runner looking forward to next season and Air Force future

By: Erin Onderko

For the Yellow Jacket

While all of our athletes’ seasons may look different this year because of the Coronavirus pandemic, they are still doing what they can to be involved with their teams and prepare for whatever the season holds, to the best of their ability.

Like every athlete, Sophomore cross country runner Gloria Reed is looking forward to the season, no matter how different it may be.

Reed, who began running in eighth grade, originally did not enjoy the sport at all, in fact she hated running cross country during that first season. Her mother was the one who encouraged her to give it a try because of how fast she naturally was, especially during elementary school.

About a month into her first season, teammates and friends began telling Reed how fast she was, which made her want to stick with it. She added that she disliked track much more than she disliked cross country.

Coming to Waynesburg from Missouri City, Texas, Reed has loved her time with the team, and has loved the support she has received from her teammates on and off the course.

“We have a really good team effort. Especially when we run with each other,” Reed said. “We push each other forward, which is good. I think that can be very powerful and very competitive, in a good way.”

Coach Chris Hardie has also enjoyed the time he has been able to work with Reed.

“She is a great girl. I love working with her, I love her personality,” Hardie said. “She is someone I look forward to working with every day.”

Reed explained that emails and letters from the university as well as communications from Coach Hardie helped her decide to commit to Waynesburg. After speaking with Hardie, members of the team began sending letters to Reed too, which also made her want to be part of the team at Waynesburg.

While Cross Country athletes put a lot of work in to train their bodies for the season, all of that conditioning has added benefits for Reed, who is part of the ROTC.

“In high school, it was always implemented that I was going to be in the Air Force,” Reed said. “When I was looking for a college I was looking for an Air Force program, so I decided to come to Waynesburg not only because of their cross country team but because of their Air Force program.”

Her plans after graduation include hopes to commission in the Air Force or go into business. One thing is certain, however: Gloria wants to use her skills to help others.

“When I run a physical fitness test at the Air Force, I make sure that once I’m done I go back and help other people. I go right back to running after a minute because you don’t leave a man behind,” Reed said. “When I graduate I’m hoping to commission as an officer in the Air Force, but if that doesn’t work out I want to do something with my major. I love talking to people, I love helping people out. I think it’s really important.”

Coach Hardie also had high praise for Reed, regarding her ability to communicate effectively and focus on her end goal. He also commented on her selflessness and desire to always put the team first.

“There are a few things. She communicates effectively and often. She is also somebody that is not afraid to challenge the coaching staff and brings questions to our staff as to why she is being asked to do something, which we love,” Hardie said. “Her ability to think long term, focusing on where she needs to be at the end of the season, and look at the long term goals are important. She is a wonderful teammate and is always there for the team.”

While every athlete is handling the postponement of their season a little differently, they are all ready to get back to what they love, whenever that may be.

“There’s mixed emotions. It depends on who the athlete is and what their goals were going into the season,” Hardie said. “Overall, there was a lot of disappointment early in the fall when things got postponed, but I think we have started the process of getting over that and moving on as we develop a plan to get everyone ready for the spring.”