Middle Park alum Daniel Reynolds builds strength, sets multiple records for Chadron State College | SkyHiNews.com

Middle Park alum Daniel Reynolds builds strength, sets multiple records for Chadron State College

Granby native hits new mark for Eagles’ track and field, captures RMAC title

Andy Bockelman

Like most athletes across the nation, Daniel Reynolds was ready to go for competition as usual in March 2020.

The track and field throwing specialist, then a senior at Middle Park High School, was eager to defend his league championships in the discus and shot put and return to the 3A state championships. Then, just as springtime sports were about to get underway, the COVID-19 pandemic went into full force, cancelling anything and everything.

But, as life continues to get back to normal nearly two years later, Reynolds is hitting his stride in the sport in a big way.

Reynolds recently broke his own school record for Chadron State College in the weight throw, a feat that also set the new record in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference during the RMAC Indoor Championships at Western Colorado University in Gunnison.

Reynolds captured the conference title with a toss of 19.8 meters, or 64 feet, 11.5 inches, during the opening round of competition Feb. 25.

According to a Chadron news release, the former conference record was 19.48 meters, or 63 feet, 11 inches, and the field house record was 17.98 meters (59 feet even).

“He had quite a day,” Chadron State Coach Riley Northrup said in the release. “He keeps throwing better all the time. We have to remember than the weight isn’t a high school event, so this is just his second year of throwing it.  Most outstanding weight throwers are upperclassmen.”

Reynolds is also ranked 10th in the nation, heading for the NCAA Division II National Championships, scheduled for March 11 and 12 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

Reynolds had previously thrown 62 feet, 1.5 inches at the Stinger Open Meet hosted Feb. 18 and 19 by Black Hills State at Spearfish, South Dakota to break the old Chadron record — set in 2018 — by three inches.

The weight throw — which involves a 35-pound implement similar to the hammer throw for the men’s event — is done more at the college level than high school and is almost exclusively performed at indoor meets.

The weight throw was a considerable change for Reynolds, who, like most high school athletes coming into college, had experienced only the shot and disc.

“I think that my high school coaches did a good job of preparing me for the transition,” he said. “The shot put and discus both got heavier in college which took me a while to adjust to. Picking up hammer and the weight was a new challenge that was presented to me when I got here, but I have found a love for both of them.”

Besides bulking up considerably to build his muscle mass, Reynolds noted that prepping for indoor meets as well as outdoor — standard for college track and field programs — was an adjustment, though he’s had no complaints.

“It takes away external factors that can influence your throws like the wind and the weather,” he said. “I like to be given the opportunity to compete as much as possible.”

Reynolds, a redshirt freshman for the Eagles this season, said that after the pattern of one change after another during COVID, it’s been easier to adapt to things he already knew would be different in college sports.

“These simple adjustments were pretty expected with how crazy everything was at the beginning of the pandemic,” he said. “I think the continued support from my family, coaches, and teammates have helped me grow as a person and an athlete. We have created a positive competitive environment to push each other and become better athletes.”

Northrup stated that Reynolds has been a strong component of the program.

“I’m very impressed by his dedication and determination to be the best he can be. We had a good idea during his true freshman season last year that he had a lot of potential, but it’s never a guarantee that a person will do the work necessary to reach their potential,” Northrup said. “Dan is showing now that he’s motivated to excel in throwing and willing to do the necessary work to be his best. Three more years is a lot of time to work with. If he sticks to it and continues to push like he did from last year to this year, he could find himself standing on a tall, elite podium one day.”

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