Century runner crosses over to field hockey

The Baltimore Sun

Competing in cross country brought Century's Carly Reed medals, ribbons and countless accolades.

For the speedy junior, however, one thing it sometimes lacked was fun.

So a year after winning the Class 2A West regional championship and finishing as runner-up at the Carroll County meet, Reed has eschewed the sport that brought her acclaim in favor of field hockey, a sport she has never formally played.

To Knights field hockey coach Gayle Taylor, Reed's decision to switch came as a surprise.

"I got a call from one of my players at 9 o'clock Tuesday night [the night before tryouts] saying, 'Coach, guess who's trying out for field hockey?' " Taylor recalled. "They said, 'Carly Reed,' and I was like ,'What? Carly Reed is cross country.' "

But a day later, Reed showed up ready to play for the defending county champions.

"I did cross country the first two years of high school, and it wasn't very fun," said Reed, who was sixth at last year's Class 2A state meet. "I wanted to do something different, and my friends all told me that field hockey was a really fun sport to be a part of. I just decided that I should try doing something that I enjoy."

While she may not be starting quite from scratch, she's not far from it. The extent of her experience in the sport has been hitting the ball around with some of her friends from the lacrosse team, who also play field hockey.

Regardless, Taylor knew she had found a winner from the outset.

"The first morning of practice we did the timed mile, and of course she lapped everyone," Taylor said. "I'm thinking, 'This girl's got endurance, this girl's got speed. I can teach skill.'"

Taylor said that Reed "just needs a little polishing."

"The coach has really helped me and my teammates have helped me," Reed said. "It's a hard sport, but I'm picking up on it."

Taylor said she hopes to take advantage of Reed's strength by having her "take the ball down the field, fast." She plans to use her as a reserve on the forward line.

No. 12 Century (12-2 last season) opened its schedule last week with games against No. 14 Westminster and Linganore.

Taylor said she's not overly concerned about Reed becoming frustrated with a new sport after being so dominant in her previous endeavor.

"I said, 'Take it all in, and it will come,' " Taylor said. "She's probably harder on herself then I am, and I told her not to get frustrated. She knows that the girls I have on the field are good. She likes playing with those players, and those players love her. Everybody took her in ... there were no questions asked."

To Reed, however, it's not about dominating. It's simply a matter of having a good time.

"I'm not really trying to be at the top of this sport," said Reed. "I just kind of want to have a good time. It's high school and I want to have fun, so I just joined a fun team."

Eagles reloaded

To most cross country teams, losing the likes of Jared Welsh, Colin Fearns and Jordan White -- first, third and fourth at last year's county meet, respectively -- would be a scary proposition.

So what makes Francis Scott Key coach Tim Walsh so confident about his team's prospects this season?

It's all about the mileage.

"If guys are willing to throw in 300, 400, 500 miles of work over the summer, they're going to be ready to roll," Walsh said. "From what I see, it's happened."

With the return of seniors Arthur Leathers, Zach Holz and Jordan White -- all key cogs on last year's Class 2A state championship team -- the Eagles came into this season with three of their top five spots in their lineup.

The challenge was to find adequate replacements at the other two spots. Walsh, however, feels he's done just that with senior Jesse Henderson, who showed dramatic improvement after doubling his mileage over the summer, and freshman standout Alex Haufler.

"From the looks of it, our [top] five now is where our five were last year," Walsh said. "We'll see what happens."

To submit news and story ideas about Carroll County high school sports, contact Rich Scherr at CarrollSports@comcast.net.

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