Nov. 23, 2011
NEW ORLEANS--Two days after repeating as the individual women's cross country national champion senior Sheila Reid (Newmarket, Ont.) was announced today as the National Athlete of the Year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), marking the second straight year she has received the honor.
Reid won her second individual national championship in cross country on Monday afternoon in Terre Haute, Ind., where she beat out a group of nearly a dozen contenders in addition to the rest of the field in the closest championship race in history. Reid's final kick in the last 500 meters was enough to repeat as the national champion and she crossed the finish line with a time of 19:41.2 on the 6,000 meter course.
Earlier this season Reid also repeated as the individual winner at the BIG EAST Championships and the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. She finished the season having won eight consecutive races dating back to last season and also won 12 of her last 14 starts dating back to the 2009 campaign. Along the way she has captured three BIG EAST titles and three NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional championships to go along with her two national championship crowns.
Reid finishes her collegiate cross country career as a three-time All-American and a four-time honoree as both an All-BIG EAST and an All-Mid Atlantic Region performer. When adding in her indoor and outdoor track accolades, Reid is a five-time national champion, 11-time All-American and 12-time BIG EAST champion. She has one season of outdoor track eligibility remaining this coming spring.
The success that Reid has had in her career, especially in the last two years, has cemented her place as one of the top performers in the history of collegiate cross country. She is one of only six women to own multiple individual national championships. Incredibly, Reid is the third from that group of six to represent the Wildcats, joining two-time national champions Sonia O'Sullivan (1991, 1992) and Carole Zajac (1993, 1994). In addition, Reid is only the second person to be a three-time individual champion at the BIG EAST Championships.
Reid's individual success has been part of a dominant run that the entire Villanova team has made in the last three years. Her first-place finish at Monday's national championships meet helped lead the Wildcats to a third place finish in the team standings. This marked the third straight year that Villanova has earned a spot on the awards podium (top four teams make the podium), after previously winning the 2009 and 2010 team national titles. The Wildcats have also won four consecutive BIG EAST championships and have earned at least a share of three straight Mid-Atlantic Region titles.
Last week Reid was named the USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Region Athlete of the Year for the third straight season. She was also the region's top athlete last year for both the indoor and outdoor track seasons and was the outdoor track National Athlete of the Year.