Track team shines, gains momentum


John Bell photo, Touch A Life Photography

Jeremiah Hedrick ’20

Guilford College track and field’s spring season began and it has started on a positive note, between receving talented new faces that are both running, and coaching.

First-year Juwan Houston set the College’s 60-meter hurdles record on Feb. 4 at the Vince Brown Invitational. His 8.65 second finish surpasses the seven-year old record previously held by Trey Billian ‘12 at 9.02 seconds.

There were some adjustments Houston had to overcome in his move from high school to the collegiate level.

“The hurdles went up an extra three inches,” said Houston. “It’s a big transition because I have to change my steps to make sure they’re right.”

He seemed to have been able to smoothly find his footing.

First-year Jeremiah Hedrick also hopped into top spots for the Quakers this spring. His 12.56 meter mark in the triple jump on Feb. 18 at the UCS Invitational was the best among Old Dominion Athletic Conference teams in the event. He also earned an eighth place finish in the triple jump more recently at the Dr. Jack Toms Invitational with a 12.77 meter mark, which currently stands sixth in Guilford College history.

The team also welcomes first the women’s cross-country and track and field coach Jamie McNeair-Reese.

This will help the women’s team grow and learn from someone with a lot of experience and will be able to focus on improving and working with the women athletes.

McNeair-Reese is a Purdue University graduate and a three-time NCAA Division I All-American. She also has coaching experience at the high school and other collegiate levels, most recently at North Carolina Central University.

This is McNeair-Reese’s first time coaching at a Division III school, but so far has had a positive experience. She has been enjoying her time here at Guilford since she has started.

“I anticipated the transition would be rocky, but it’s been very smooth,” said McNeair-Reese. “I am enjoying myself here. I think the culture is very calm, serene and very welcoming, so I am excited to see how things will progress throughout the season, we have four meets this season and hopefully we can increase from meet to meet.”.

Men’s head coach Danny Cash and McNeair-Reese have been working well together to improve both the men’s and women’s teams. According to McNeair-Reese, the team is doing well so far and working hard despite the new changes that have been made.

“The biggest concern that I have seen, and we have already spearheaded, is a program to increase the strength because they haven’t really been involved in a strength and conditioning program.” said McNeair-Reese. “Practices have been going really well and it seems like the student-athletes are excited about the change. The new additions to the staff, (Cash) and I have been working really well and close together, trying to keep things cohesive for the team and not to create too many changes that will kind of disrupt the flow of how things have been going.”

Even though the team is doing well, there are always room for improvements. McNeair-Reese has seen some places where the team can improve, and how the program and grow and enhance.

“First, I had a meeting with the team, and our major concern is having us improve at the conference level meets,” said McNeair- Reese. “We (have) kind of traditionally fallen at the bottom of the conference, and I would like to see us at least move up by one place.”. “That’s our biggest goal that we have.

“The second is just to increase the numbers on the team. Next year, hopefully I can create a call out for students on campus who have experience and also recruit heavily (on those who) will be interested in participating in the sport.”

There are places where McNeair-Reese believes there could be improvements, and she is excited and ready to continue to grow the team. The team is also excited to have a women’s coach.McNeair-Reese is looking forward to what is to come this season, and for the feature.

“I am really happy to be here,” said McNeair-Reese. “I am excited. I know it’s going to take some time for us to grow, so the biggest challenge is recruiting some student athletes to get our numbers up, but also still keeping the team pretty small, lean and able to compete in every event at the conference level. ”