An individual national champion and a member of a team national champion in one sport, there are few student-athletes that can claim that label. In the 2010 Cross Country NCAA National championship meet Villanova won its second consecutive national title, and Villanova Senior Sheila Reid broke away in the last 200 meters to claim the individual championship. Seven other Villanova student-athletes had such a title. Now there are eight. Reid defines her accomplishments in terms of team and school.
“The tradition at Villanova can be daunting,” said Reid. “You hear names like Sonia O’Sullivan, Vicki Huber and Carrie Tollefson. It is incredible to be amongst those names now. It’s hard to believe that we are in the same shoes as these women who have done such amazing things.”
Sheila Reid has earned her two All-America honors in Cross Country, and six All-America achievements in overall in cross country and in indoor and outdoor track.
The 2010 Cross Country season was highly successful for Villanova and for Reid. It was the ninth championship for the school along with going undefeated. Along the road to the national title Reid won four of the five races in which she was entered including winning the national championship meet by two seconds. Reid repeated as the individual champion at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional and at the Big East Championships.
Her successful season in Cross Country brought many awards and accolades. There were none greater for the Newmarket, Ontario native more than being named the 2011 Honda Sports Award winner in cross country designating her as the nation’s top collegiate female athlete in the sport. The Honda Sports award is given annually to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports, along with automatic eligibility to become a “Top-Three” finalist for Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. Like many Honda Sports Award winners Reid is an academic standout in addition to her athletic excellence. She is a three-time Big East Academic All-Star majoring in English, and had a 4.0 GPA in the semester she won the national championship. Reid also was named as the Mid-Atlantic Region Athlete of the Year.
The Villanova Senior also starred in Indoor and Outdoor track as a middle distance runner. In 2010 she earned All-America honors in the Indoor 3000 Meters. In that race Reid registered her personal best time of 9:01.13. Reid also earned All-America as part of the Distance Medley Relay. During the Outdoor season she was All-America in the 1500 Meter race where she also registered a personal best of time of 4:16.66. In the Big East Reid is the reigning champion in the Indoor 1000 Meters, Mile, and on the 4×800 Meter Relay team. Outdoor she holds the 800 Meters championship. For her efforts Reid was named the Most Outstanding Track Athlete of the Meet at the 2010 Big East Indoor Championships. Sheila performed best in her biggest races.
Reid turned in a memorable performance at the Penn Relays during the 4×1500 Meter race. She ran shoulder to shoulder four times around the track with Tennessee anchor Phoebe Wright. The reports accurately stated that Villanova came up short of the victory. They did not lose the race they came up just a bit short. Again, Reid defined her character in summarizing the race.
“The last lap was fast,” Reid said. “I made my move and Phoebe (Wright) moved with me. I didn’t lose any ground, but I didn’t pick up any. I wanted to bring it home for ‘Nova.”
Cross Country and middle distance running tend to have it athletes train in near anonymity. The races are not always noticed. But the performance and accomplishments of Sheila Reid are noticed. And it earned her the 2010 Philadelphia Sportswriters Association Amateur Athlete of the Year.
Written By: Glenn Papazian