Young, Reed Are S.j. Athletes Of The Year Bridgeton Flash Owns 4 State Golds

Posted: June 16, 1995

Bridgeton track coach Wil Barry saw something new at the state championships early this month.

"Royce Reed is the first high school athlete I've ever seen being asked for his autograph by adults and kids," Barry said.

On June 3 at South Plainfield, the senior became the first male athlete in state history to win four gold medals in the state championship meet.

He won Group 3 titles in the 200 meters, 400 meters, 400-meter hurdles and javelin. He set a Group 3 record time of 47.12 seconds in the 400.

At the Meet of Champions four days later, Reed won overall state titles in the 400 hurdles and javelin.

An outstanding student who will attend Princeton, Reed has been named The Inquirer's 1994-95 South Jersey male athlete of the year.

Reed was a member of the National Honor Society, the student Rotarian Club and the school newspaper.

The spectacular finish to his high school track career was all the more unusual because Reed had expected to spend his spring seasons on a diamond instead of an oval.

"As a freshman, I went out to the track during a gym class early in the year, and (assistant track coach) Howie Furtek timed me in the 60-yard dash and saw how fast I was," Reed recalled. "He asked me to come out for track, but I wasn't sure I wanted to because I wanted to play baseball.

"I did go out for winter track after playing football as a freshman, then I played baseball my first spring. But the fact that I had such a good time in the 60 boosted my interest in track, and my sophomore year I decided to go out for spring track instead of baseball.

"If I hadn't gone to that gym class my freshman year I might never have ended up competing in track."

As a junior, Reed won state group titles in the 200, 400 and 400 hurdles, and placed second in the javelin.

Barry said Reed's placing second in the javelin last year motivated Reed to win all four events this season.

"Royce has more guts and determination that any athlete I've seen in a long, long time," Barry said. "Any challenge, if it's physically possible, he will achieve it.

"His whole motivation this year was not only to win the same three events he won at the state meet last year, but to win the javelin, too. He also wanted to become the first athlete to win three events at the Meet of Champions, but it didn't work out because the 200 and 400 were scheduled for the same time he was in the javelin finals."

This weekend, Reed will compete in the 400, 400 hurdles and javelin at the National High School Track Championships at North Carolina State in Raleigh. He is also one of 16 high school athletes from across the country who have been invited to compete in the Dan O'Brien decathlon, to be held July 8-9 in Klamath Falls, Ore.

Reed, also an outstanding running back on the Bulldogs football team, said his most satisfying moments during his track career did not come in any single event.

"There have been many great moments for me, especially during the last two weeks of the season," he said. "But what I'm most proud of is all the hard work I put in to do what I did. I'm really proud of that.

"I give a lot of the credit to my coaches Wil Barry and Howie Furtek. They're the best coaches you could have. I love those guys. I've had a great personal relationship with both of them, and they have done a lot for me, our school and our track program."

Although Minnesota and Georgia Tech offered him full scholarships, Reed decided to attend Princeton because of his academic interests. He does, however, plan to play football and compete in track at the Ivy League school.

"Picking a college was a tough choice, but I realized that Princeton was the best place for me academically," he said. "Plus, the coaches at Princeton are great.

"I'll start out in liberal arts, but I'll probably end up majoring in business. If the opportunity presents itself to get involved in pro track, or maybe even pro football, after I finish college, that's definitely something I would consider. But getting my degree is first and foremost."

Of course, he may have to find time for new autograph seekers, too.

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