Warriors runner improves by leaps and bounds
By Joseph Wolkin
Comsewogue senior Tori Reid headed to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls’ track and field championship looking to make history.
Reid set her sights on the prize, focused on winning as the lone member of the Warriors to head to Cicero-North Syracuse High School. Finishing runner-up in the Section XI division championship in the triple jump with a leap of 36 feet, 8 inches, and in the 100-meter hurdles in 15.43 seconds, the athlete advanced to states, attempting to become the third pentathlon champion in the school’s history. Previously, her best finish in any event during the tournament was fifth, which came in the hurdles last year. Although she didn’t become a champion, she placed ninth overall, and is happy with how far she’s come.
“I was proud of myself because I was seeded 13th going into the competition,” Reid said.
She placed fourth in hurdles in 15.36, 19th in 100-meter run in 2 minutes 2:44.07, and fifth in shot put with a throw of 27 feet, 2 inches.
“I definitely could have run better. I definitely could have thrown better,” she said. “It wasn’t my best, but I did the best I could in the two days, especially since it was raining on the second day. I think I did pretty well overall.”
With two 100 hurdles victories in the spring — one on April 30 during the Westhampton Beach Invitational and the other at the St. Anthony’s Invitational on May 6 — Reid emerged as a leader entering her final months with the Warriors.
She earned six wins during the winter, with four of them coming in the 55 hurdles, and a pair in the triple jump. Her work ethic propelled her to break the school record for the triple jump, reaching 37 feet, 7.75 inches on Jan. 31 during the Section XI Small School Championships at Suffolk County Community College.
According to head coach J.P. Dion, who joined the team at the start of this season, Reid’s emergence as a team leader is spreading positivity among her peers. She helps get everything organized, and showed up to all but two of the approximately 80 practices this season.
“She’s definitely the captain of the team,” Dion said. “She comes to practice every day and is a leader. I think when the kids see her doing really well — see her at practice everyday, putting the time and effort in to become better — I think her dedication rubs off on kids.”
And he said she took that role on herself.
“I didn’t have to designate her as that person,” he said. “She is very good with communication. It’s through her dedication that something like that came about.”
Dion took over for longtime coach Matt Brown, who worked with Reid during her first three years at Comsewogue.
“Matt Brown would kid a lot and joke around, but Dion is kind of hands-on,” Reid said. “Usually, there was no captain and the seniors just took control, but I knew that with a new coach coming in, I didn’t want my girls thinking anything was going to be different. I stepped up to make them feel comfortable.”
This year, Reid set a personal record of 15.23 in the 100 hurdles en route to her St. Anthony’s Invitational victory. The 2015-16 season was her strongest since joining the Warriors, earning eight wins in 30 contests, compared to four in her previous seasons with the team.
Reid will be attending Winthrop University in South Carolina in the fall, joining her sister Sabrena, who will be a junior. Although she only worked with her new coach for a short period of time, she will take with her some invaluable lessons she’s learned along the way.
“[Dion] taught me that in the end, he can’t do anything for me,” she said. “I’ve learned to be more independent while competing. It comes down to me.”