The Orion

Redshirt Reyes running for future

Samuel Wolfson

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Wil Reyes, a junior transfer from American River College, is redshirting this year as a Wildcat men's cross-country runner. Photo credit: Samuel Wolfson

William Reyes ran to a third-place finish Oct. 4 at the Charles Bowles XC Williamette Invitational in Salem, Oregon. The thing is, that mark didn’t count for his school.

Reyes, a junior transfer from American River College, is redshirting on this year’s men’s cross-country team for Chico State. While he ran a faster race than all of his teammates, Reyes ran unattached and will do so for the entire 2014 season.

Reyes posted a time of 23. 54 in the Men’s Cardinal 8K XC, which would have been a top Chico State time.

Gary Towne, the head cross-country coach, explained why Reyes is running unattached this season.

“A number of folks who are close to our team are wondering why we’re redshirting a guy who is obviously in such great shape and whose talent would match up with some of the NCAA’s best right now,” Towne said. “Our plan is to hopefully maximize Will’s time here, and hopefully line him up with a young and developing roster, that should hopefully have us battling for top spots in the NCAA in the coming two years.”

The 5 foot 7 inch Reyes said he developed a passion for the sport during his sophomore year of high school after realizing he had a strong feeling that he would be much better at running than playing soccer, which he did during his freshman year.

Towne said he had been recruiting Reyes since he graduated high school because of how much talent he saw in him.

“I had recruited Will out of high school as well as American River College, so I’ve been following his progress for quite some time now,” Towne said. “From everything that I’d witnessed in the recruiting process, I felt that Will could have an immediate impact within our program.”

At American River College last year, Reyes was able to get second in both the 5K and 10K at the California State Community College Championships.

Reyes received offers to go to many universities, but after hearing what Towne had to offer, scholarship-wise, his mind was set, he said.

Reyes said he has learned a lot from the sport, including patience, that had led to good habits in school. He also learned that it is as much a mental sport as it is a physically demanding one.

“I love it,” he said. “The hardest part is not letting the bad parts get to your head. You always have to look forward and not let it effect the future.”

Reyes lives with other members of the team, including Steven Martinez, Brandon Taylor and Dillon Breen.

Breen said that Reyes is all business, very humble and just wants to succeed.

Reyes plans to graduate in three years with a major in health service administration. This gives him two full years after this school year to compete as a Wildcat.

He said he is disappointed that he doesn’t have any championship races to look forward to this year, but is glad he will in the future.

Running can get boring, but most of the time it is nice and usually relaxing for him, Reyes said. Sometimes he will race with no one around him and his mind will wander, but other times he will have teammates right next to him to keep him company and share a couple laughs.

Assistant coach Sean Smith said he is looking forward to what Reyes can bring to the team in the future.

“I’m very excited for the next couple of years with him,” Smith said. “It takes a very mature runner to be able to hold back in training and workouts as well as pick the right times to let loose. He continues to improve at a fast rate due to his patience in practice and healthy habits outside of practice.”

Sam Wolfson can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_sports on Twitter.

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Redshirt Reyes running for future