Speeding to record; Old shoes carry Reynolds into record books

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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All chasing him - Paradise sprinter Chase Reynolds set the school record in the 100, running 10.65 at the Bridgeport meet. He hopes to continue his strong start and blaze a trail to Austin.

For the past three springs, Chase Reynolds has laced up the same old spikes and taken to the track.

“I was going to get some new ones, but after the first meet I don’t think I need new ones,” Reynolds said.

Wearing those same old spikes, Reynolds blazed down the Bridgeport track last month in 10.65 seconds, shattering a 38-year-old Paradise High School record in the 100.

“When I was talking about breaking the record, people were like “‘OK,'” Reynolds recalls. “When I did it, it shocked a lot of people.”

The people shocked included Paradise track coach Jonathan Ryle, who second-guessed his stopwatch at the season-opening meet.

“I had him at a 10.61 and thought I had messed it up when I looked at it,” Ryle confessed. “Then I checked with another coach, and he said it was 10.65.”

Since that opening meet, Reynolds has made believers out of his coaches and spectators. Despite stumbling out of the blocks at the Panther Invitational, he turned in a 10.8 at his home meet to win the race easily.

The shocking part of Reynolds’ record time was the amount he cut off his previous best of 11-flat. Last year at the District 10-2A meet, he ran 11.61 to finish fifth.

Around the start of football season, Reynolds started to put in extra time in the weightroom, adding strength and weight. Between August and February, he gained 20 pounds – going from a smallish 140 to a built 160.

“I put in a lot of time getting ready for football and pretty much lived in the weight room,” Reynolds said. “I started getting bigger during football and kept getting faster.”

Ryle credits Reynolds’ additional speed to the extra time in the weightroom along with a late growth spurt.

“He’s one of the hardest working kids that I’ve been around,” Ryle said. “He’s been focused and dedicated and worked really hard. The added strength, him hitting a growth spurt and the hard work have all added up to put him where he is now.”

Reynolds and Ryle believe that he is just now tapping his potential and could shave a few additional tenths off his time with better technique – especially early in the race.

“He’s not great out of the blocks, but gets faster as he goes,” Ryle said.

Reynolds is learning to get a better break out of the blocks to get him in front at the start of a race, instead of playing catchup.

“I’m always in last place out of the blocks,” he said. “If I can get the blocks down, I’ll be a lot better.”

He also said he must learn to run more relaxed. Because of his slow start, he tenses up throughout the run, robbing him of precious hundredths of a second.

But his competitive spirit drives him to overcome the slow start and run down his competition.

“When I see someone ahead of me, I give it my all to catch them,” he said. “If I can get out front from the start, I don’t know what would happen.”

Because of his ability to find the extra gear to speed up down the track, Ryle wants Reynolds to start running the 200. He already has memorized the school record for the distance.

“It’s 23.3,” Reynolds blurts out. “That’s my new goal.”

Top Spot - Paradise sprinter Chase Reynolds now owns the school record in the 100.

Even adding the 200, his preference will remain the 100.

“I dream of winning the 100,” Reynolds said. “It’s the closest race with the most intensity.”

With his newfound speed, Reynolds said doors are starting to open for him after high school. But he’s concentrating on later this spring and where he wants his track career to end.

“I’m looking forward to getting to Austin and doing some business there,” Reynolds said.

He said he will still need to trim some time to get there, which will also help meet another goal.

“I’m working to make my record better,” Reynolds said. “I’m trying to set the bar high.”

Too much higher and the school may want to keep those special spikes.

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