WOODBRIDGE>> If given the opportunity, Amity girls’ head coach Jesse Belden would enter Zoie Reed in every track and field event.
Since that will never become a reality, Belden has done the next best thing with her star athlete: She’s spread out and utilized Reed’s hard-to-miss speed and strength to the best of her ability.
Reed, a junior, enters Tuesday’s Class LL State Meet at Danbury (2:30 p.m. start) as the No. 2 seed in the 100 (12.28), 200 (25.42) and long jump (17-10.25).
“The second she walked onto the track I was like, ‘Wow, look at this gift.’ She’s awesome; very strong, very fast. Could she be an excellent high jumper? Probably. Could she be an excellent hurdler? Probably.”
Reed, whose athletic stature and long stride is a thing of beauty to watch on the track and field, has embraced the multiple roles.
“Over the years she’s gotten to be very focused and honed in on her abilities,” Belden said.
She’s comfortable with running the 100 and then quickly jogging over to go compete in the long jump.
Added Reed: “It’s all the mindset of being an athlete. OK, just calm down and there’s always the next event if you don’t do well in one.”
Reed’s ability has been a big part of the Spartans’ success this spring. She helped lead Amity to a Southern Connecticut Conference Eastern Sectional title, an SCC Championship last week and on Tuesday, the Spartans will make a strong run at the Class LL crown.
“She and a lot of the other girls have stepped up this season,” Belden said.
What’s Reed’s best event? Well, Belden commented on her track abilities in the 200 and mentioned the 400 as an event Reed could excel in.
“To me, she has a beautiful stride, like a longer sprint,” she said.
For Reed, who possesses a quirky side, the long jump is her favorite. It’s also where perhaps her personality is displayed best.
“The long jump, it’s very chill, but very fun,” Reed said with a smile. “I mean, I get to jump and land in a pit.”
Added Belden: “She’s very funny. You basically never know what’s going to come out of her mouth. Expect the unexpected.”
As Reed has an unpredictable side, it’s almost the exact opposite of her athletic side. Her competitive streak and always wanting to do the best and reach a personal record is a nice balance.
“You can always kind of expect her to do well,” Belden said.
While Reed has improved in her marks and times through the years, the challenge for Belden has been focusing Reed on individual events or put her in a relay. Last year Reed was part of the 4×100 that captured second at the Class LL meet. This year, Reed is concentrating on the individual events.
“I do miss working together (in a relay),” Reed said. “But I know what I’m doing to is best for the team.”
And on Tuesday, whether it’s jumping or sprinting you can be sure Reed will be giving it her all.
“I just want to keep pushing and pushing and see how far I go,” Reed said.