by Bruce Strand, Sports Editor
Reed Parent had a day last November when he wished he could be two places at once.
The Rogers cross-country star eagerly anticipates the deer hunting opener all fall, along with his family. Wouldn’t you know it, the state meet, for which he had qualified for the second straight year, fell on the same day.
“That was unfortunate, to have to delay deer hunting for a day!” Parent said. “Right after the race, I got in the car, and we took off for up north.”
Parent ran the race of his life that day, almost like he was in a big hurry to get it over with and start stalking deer. He ran a 16:09 at St. Olaf in Northfield to place 26th, a jump of 44 places from the 70th place he registered as a sophomore. It was a personal record despite the challenging state course.
“My sophomore year, it was cool to be there, but I didn’t know what I was going,” Parent said. “Last year I knew more what to do.”
The Parent family all got their deer, too, up in the Thief River Falls area: his father, brother, sister and himself. Meanwhile, mom Lisa did her shooting with a camera, recording memories.
It was his mother who got Parent started in his running career, albeit inadvertently. As a little boy, he had so much energy that she sent him outside to run around the house a few times to burn some off. He became a competitive runner in junior high and started to make a name for himself in 10th grade.
Parent is a two-time state qualifier after placing third in the section as a sophomore and fourth as a junior. In the conference, he took fifth as a sophomore and third as a junior. He won the Rogers Invitational last year with a 16:12 that was his PR until state. Another highlight was placing third in the 49-team Maroon Race (second-tier) at the huge University of Minnesota Roy Griak Invitational.
“Reed has a natural runner’s build, but combines his talent with a persistent work ethic,” coach Chad Kreuser said. “He’ll train five to six days a week, totaling around 45 to 50 miles. He ran consistently this summer with a core group of guys.”
Parent’s accomplishments and can-do attitude have a positive effect on the team.
“With high individual goals, he has also created high team expectations,” Kreuser said. “Because of this, we have a team that believes they can qualify for the state meet.”
Asked what he enjoys about his sport, Parent said: “Runners feel something you can’t really explain. It can be thrilling. Although, there are some days you are really at peace, and others where you wonder why you ever signed up.”
Going hard for 5,000 meters is a grueling proposition, but that’s what Parent strives for.
“I always want to finish on empty. I want to run on fumes,” Parent said. Upon finishing, he finds a solitary place “in case I puke,” which he said hasn’t done yet, except once during a race.
Also a hockey player since age 4, but rather slight for a defenseman at 5-foot-9 and 140 pounds, he played on the junior varsity as a junior and hopes to crack varsity this winter.
“I’m not the greatest player, but I love that sport,” Parent said.
In track last year, Parent was fifth in conference and sixth in a strong section in the 3200. His PRs are 9:55 in the 3200 and 4:48 in the 1600.
Parent’s goals for November are a top-20 finish at state and another deer. If he’s back at Northfield on Nov. 2, he’ll have to hurry again, because the deer opener is again the same day.
THE PARENT SCORECARD
Personal file — Age: 18 in two weeks … Family: parents Mike and Lisa; brother Carl, 16; sister Sara, 11 … Sports: cross-country, track, hockey … Other activities: National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes … Academics: 3.6 GPA … College plans: undecided where and major; wants to run
Favorite stuff — Class: “Lunch. Also, gym. I like to be active.” … TV show: “Duck Dynasty” … Reading: articles on running, mental toughness, life lessons … Food: pasta, especially chicken fettuccini … Drink: Dr Pepper … Teams: Wild, NDSU hockey… Kickback activity: hunting … Athlete: Steve Prefontaine