Athlete of the Issue: Rachel Reed

Rachel BB 2Since her arrival at Groton, Rachel Reed has made her athletic presence known. Now the captain of two varsity sports, Rachel is a model of commitment and leadership. She is a versatile competitor, as comfortable on the Nashua while she rows as she is on the hardwood floors of the gym.

Rachel Reed’s athletic career began on the third’s soccer field at Groton. After the season was over, she decided that soccer wasn’t for her and gave cross-country a try. “I thought it would be a good way to get in shape,” she said. Rachel made great strides as a runner due to her innate focus and determination. Addie Ewald’14, captain of girls’ cross country, reflected that successful runners “are mentally strong enough to push past the pain of running as fast as you can for 3.1 miles.” Rachel took the lessons she learned on the cross country trails and applied them to her two main sports, crew and basketball.

Already an experienced basketball player, Rachel gained a spot on the Varsity team as a Third Former. Admittedly timid at times on the court in third form, she got better and better as she gained confidence. “I was pretty adept [in Third Form] because I had played so much in middle school, but I feel I have just gotten so much more confident and that has made such a big difference. ”  Teammate and co-captain Breezy Thomas’14 agreed whole-heartedly, adding, “She has really come into her own. She is much more confident than in freshman year.”

As her confidence improved, so did her game. As a fourth former she had an impressive outing against Middlesex in which she scored over 20 points to give the Zebras a win. “She saved the game for us,” said Breezy, “It was incredible.”  Rachel’s game lies in the post. She utilizes her height, strength, and agility to maneuver and score around opponents on the block. “We take advantage of her height and dish it down low,” said Breezy. She enjoys the experience of being part of the team, and was thrilled when together they pulled out a last minute win against a highly touted Beaver Country Day team to start this year’s season.

Unlike in basketball, Rachel had no experience with rowing before coming to Groton. “When I went to interviews for boarding school, my interviewers kept saying: ‘Would you row? Would you row?’ And I kept saying, ‘I don’t even know what that is,’” she commented. Though new to the sport, she was one of the few Third formers selected for the varsity team during her first spring at Groton.

Instead of dwelling on her initial success, she continued to work hard and build on her natural ability. Her hard work has paid great dividends. After having never tried the sport before high school, she has transformed herself into a skilled, strong, and formidable competitor. Teammate and co-captain Ally Dick’14 stated, “Her skill and finesse with the sport doesn’t come without hard work. She’s been dedicated to rowing.”

Some people shy away from the pain, intensity, and competiveness of crew, while Rachel embraces these aspects. Her desire  and competitive edge coupled with an ability to deal with rowing’s inherent pain made Rachel perfect for crew. “I really appreciate the intensity,” she said. “The four or five of you are in it together. It’s really painful but when you get through the pain you feel really proud of yourself.” Most of all, she enjoys “the dynamic of the team and the way people work together.”

One of her favorite races was in Third Form against a talented Winsor squad that had defeated them several weeks earlier. “We weren’t supposed to win; we were seeded second,” said Rachel.  Race conditions weren’t ideal either, “We had to restart because the wind was so bad!” she added, “It was really hard to get lined up.” Despite the weather and previous loss, the team rallied, never gave up, and pulled out a gritty win. This race is an example of Rachel’s ability to fuse her physical strengths with her mental toughness in order to pull through for her team.

Her undeniable talent and work ethic hasn’t gone unnoticed. Last year Rachel was selected by her peers as a captain for both the crew and basketball teams. When prompted as to what made her a good fit for these roles, Ally Dick simply shrugged her shoulders and said, “People look up to her.” Breezy Thomas echoed similar sentiments: “She is a great team player: thoughtful, courteous, yet critical when she needs to be.” In basketball, she has proved herself an invaluable player. Even more impressive than her abilities on the court is her capacity to regulate her emotions as a leader and captain. Coach McDougal, one of her basketball coaches, appreciates how she balances humor with seriousness. “Rachel is great in practice at mixing focus with humor.  She can go back and forth between working hard at each drill with determination, then having a good laugh about something, then going back to working hard.”

Throughout her athletic career at Groton, Rachel has pushed herself to become the best she can be both as an athlete, leader, and loyal friend to all of her teammates. Despite her teammates and coaches’ glowing praise, her impressive stats and leadership positions, Rachel remains humble and constantly strives to improve. She has set a wonderful example that all Groton athletes who watch her will strive to follow.

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