Amidst little fanfare, Sheila Reid will run the final race of her illustrious collegiate career early tomorrow afternoon in conditions which are likely to be oppressive for a distance runner. It won't be on ABC's Wide World of Sports like races by former Villanova champions like Ron Delany, Marty Liquori or Eamonn Coghlan, nor will it draw the type of attention in her home country of Canada that Sonia O'Sullivan received in Ireland, where she was already a legend by the time she came to the Main Line.
While Sheila may not garner the press of the former men, and she may not have the raw speed of O'Sullivan or Vicki Huber, there has never been an athlete at Villanova who has had her combination of race smarts, and an ability to bring out her best performances at the time of the season when it matters most- Championships. While this outdoor season hasn't produced everything she had planned, every Villanova fan should be grateful that she would leave her exotic homeland of Ontario to come to come wear blue and white for four seasons of cross country, indoor track and outdoor track to win five national championships and a Penn Relays wheel.
It makes me proud as a Villanova fan who is roughly the same age as Sheila that I got to see her run on multiple occasions. For that, I say thank you, and kick ass in the 5000 tomorrow.
Sheila Reid NCAA Championships:
2009 NCAA Cross Country Team Champion
2010 NCAA Cross Country Individual Champion
2010 NCAA Cross Country Team Champion
2011 NCAA Indoor Distance Medley Relay Champion
2011 NCAA Outdoor 1500m Champion
2011 NCAA Outdoor 5000m Champion
2011 NCAA Cross Country Individual Champion