Tyler Consolidated High School freshman Amanda Reynolds wowed the running crowd and made school history on Saturday at the 29th annual Autumn Classic cross country meet in Belmont, finishing first of the 118 high school girls competing at the large meet. Reynolds, who set a good pace in her middle school career for the Knights last year, took first at the meet with an impressive time of 21:45, more than half a minute ahead of her nearest competitor.
"Last years' OVAC meet was her breakout race in middle school," said head coach of the CC teams at Consolidated, Luke Reynolds. "We knew she had this race in her, we just weren't sure what our competition had, being the first race of the season."
Reynolds got off to a good start in the competition, pacing herself at first with the seeded runners, then quickly making the assessment to set her own pace and run her own race. By the last two legs of the race, she not only had the lead, but lengthened the distance between her and them with every step.
Crossing the finish line amid cheers of the Knight middle school cross country team members, she was concerned with the rest of her team, still on the course. "Where's Amber?" she questioned immediately, looking out on the course among the finishing runners for junior Amber Watson, who eventually finished seventh overall.
"That's good," the coach said. "That's a team player. I'm very proud of her."
The young freshman has set the bar pretty high for herself for the rest of the year, getting the overall win in her first outing of the year, but the coach says he expects nothing to change with her work ethic or practice schedule.
"Don't think that the results will go to her head," he said. "If nothing else, she'll be back Monday, working harder than ever."