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Freshman pole vaulter has promising future ahead

BY MATT SCHOMMER | MARCH 03, 2010 7:30 AM

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Kyle Reid’s future is so bright he’s got to wear … glasses?

While it’s not the secret to the decathlete’s success, it could be his trademark.

Of all the athletes competing in the decathlon, Reid may be the most noticeable thanks to his spectacles.

“I give him crap about that sometimes,” teammate Alex Zona said. “But then, you never expect him to be as tough of a competitor as he is. He pops his glasses off when he’s real serious and puts in his contacts.”

Competitors will have to start getting used to that.

“I just got contacts this year,” Reid said. “I’ve always pole-vaulted with my glasses on, and for some reason, they just don’t slip off. I don’t really know how that works.”

As a freshman, Reid has a lot of time to add onto his already astounding personal best in the pole vault of 16-5. Seventeen feet is the Hawkeye record.

“That’s a young man who can pretty much do it all,” coach Christi Smith said. “In another year or two, he can be a contender in the combined events.”

It will be a busy next few years for Reid, who only participated in the pole vault and hurdles in high school. And learning and honing the skills necessary for the other eight events may be a challenge, albeit one the native of Schaumburg, Ill., said he looks forward to.

“It’s really hard because it’s a lot of new things, but at the same time I like the challenge of trying to learn the new events,” he said. “It should be pretty fun to try to master them all.”

Reid, who’s been a decathlete all year, became interested in the pole vault almost by accident.

His high-school coach urged him to at least try the pole vault, thinking Reid would be good at it. It wasn’t long before Reid took to the event and has made it his signature performance in the decathlon.

But that doesn’t mean it was a simple endeavor.

Reid has had his share of falls and bruises learning the high-flying act. He’s even shattered some of the poles.

“It’s scary when you break a pole,” he said. “You’re in midair, and it just snaps. It happened to me twice in practice, and one time in a warm-up in a competition. It gives you this stinging sensation in your hands.”

While pole vaulting is not football, it obviously can be rough on the athlete.

Reid not only has had a rough time on the track but also in his decision to come to Iowa.

He fielded offers from several other schools, including home-state institutions Illinois State and the University of Illinois. In the end though, he said he felt better in Black and Gold.

“I really liked the campus, and also the academics seemed good,” he said. “And I liked the coaching staff. They seemed like they knew what they were talking about.”

Reid’s multievent coach Smith had similar sentiments.

“He’s a go-getter,” she said. “Anything I tell him to do, he goes out and does it to the best of his abilities. Overall, a smart young man.”

Reid competes again this weekend in Ames.


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