Kemba’s success influences Reid’s Oregon decision
Hydel High's Alana Reid, the latest athlete to commit to the University of Oregon this fall, says the growth of World Championship 4x100 metres silver medallist Kemba Nelson was the main factor in her decision to spend her collegiate years in Eugene.
Reid, who is in her final year at Hydel, became the second Jamaican to join the Oregon Ducks this fall, with Calabar High's Kobe Lawrence committing last year.
Reid said not only was Oregon a place she felt she could call home for four years but drew inspiration from Nelson's journey in Eugene, which cemented her decision to become an Oregon Duck.
"I look up to Kemba, honestly. She was a main part of why I wanted to go there based on how she transitioned from leaving MVP Track Club to going to Oregon. I saw her improvement in her times and speed. So it kind of gave me the push to say 'OK, I want to go there'," Reid told STAR Sports. "It doesn't have many Jamaicans there, but it is a place that feels like home."
Reid said that she was comfortable in the environment as well, and hoped that she replicates what years at Oregon did for Nelson, who made her first senior World Championships last year in her final year in Eugene.
"I just have to tell myself that it is a new environment, new people that I would have to run against. I chose Oregon because it felt like home and a place where I will be comfortable. The coaches showed a lot of interest in me, and based on how they spoke to me, they are willing to help me to move forward based on my form and performance," she continued.
Reid enters her final ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships (Champs) with the third fastest time in the Class I girls' 100 metres with 11.24 seconds and the fastest time in the 200 metres with 22.96.
Acknowledging the leadership roles that she and teammate Oneika McAnuff play, Reid, is hoping she will provide that presence for the lower classes and also draw from their energy to deliver.
"It is just for us to set the pace for them, and I know that they will follow because most times we run, they are like 'Alana how do you do this?' And we have to be the ones giving them the push and the drive," Reid said.
"They are there for us sometimes. They are the ones shouting for us. No matter where we come, they have been there for us, and we have to do the same."