Reed looks to continue winning tradition with cross country program


Coach Liesa Reed works with her runners at the first meet of the season.(Abigail Collins Photo)
Coach Liesa Reed works with her runners at the first meet of the season.(Abigail Collins Photo)

Instructions flow from her lips and enter the ears of the athletes. Their slow compounding nods signal one thing, they understand just how hard they’ll have to work to be successful. The sweat on their brows and the serious expressions on their faces reflect the fierce training and season that is ahead of them for the 2014 cross country season under a new leader.

Coach Leisa Reed now has the task of leading the Cross Country after the retirement of long time coach Beale Tolbert.

“At first we didn’t know what to expect,” Senior Roxana Canales said, “but we’ve been left in good hands.”

When Coach Reed and Coach Tolbert spoke about the program, Reed decided to learn more about the position as head coach of the Cross Country team.

“I was aware of the quality program she had been able to sustain in her years here and I became very interested in learning more,” Reed said. “As time passed, I told her I was thinking of applying for the open position. She encouraged me to do so. I felt very fortunate to get the opportunity to apply.”

The transition from coach Tolbert to a new coach was a big one but team mates such as senior Maria Rios said they quickly realized they were in good hands.

“I think she was selected as the new coach because she is very capable,” Senior Maria Rios said. “She always encourages the runners.”

The team started the season off well with all teams placed in the top half of the group at their first meet. The varsity boys team even brought home a third place award as a team.

“The season thus far has been very positive and very productive,” Reed said. “I have been very impressed with the attitudes and the work ethic of the athletes. I never could have imagined having such great kids.”

Coach Reed’s presence has also resulted in growth of the team.

“Last year we had just a few girls on the team, but now both the girls and boys’ teams expanded,” Canales said.

Coach Reed not only inspires every runner, runners say she wants every one of them to be the best they can be and reach their limits.

“I like it that she’s pushing us and getting us out there in our runs,” senior Team Captain Alex Serna said. “Being on the team this year is much harder, we do more distance instead of pace work and she pushes us a little more as individuals.”

The teams run much more mileage than before, and they have variety of different workouts they previously did not do last season. The athletes say they’re seeing results and although they miss coach Tolbert, they’re thankful for the change.

“Coach [Reed] is always there, she treats us like her kids and she pushes our limits to the max,” junior Esteban Andrade said. “Coach Tolbert knew she was the best person for the job.”

The athletes have accepted Coach Reed and feel blessed to have her as their mentor.

“When there is a good coach there is a good team” Canales said. “She knows that if we motivate each other, we do better. Overall she is a good person and a good coach.”

Coach Reed is grateful to have the opportunity to coach this team. She said she couldn’t be happier with her move to Duncanville.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am to be at DHS,” Reed said. “My friends and family tell me quite often that I’m smiling more, and it seems like I have much less stress than in previous years.”

During her 28 year career, Reed has coached multiple sports, in addition to teaching different levels. She developed after school programs for younger students, giving many athletes a head-start to their careers.

“When I was an elementary teacher, I had running programs for my little kids and took them to 5K races,” Reed said. “As a junior high coach, I coached basketball, cross country, volleyball, and track. As a High School Coach, I have usually been a head cross country coach and track Coach at the same time.”

Reed didn’t have one particular inspiring person for her career path; rather she was driven by the respect she has for the athletes involved.

“If you are ever around anyone who is a true runner, you have a huge amount of respect for their tenacity and work ethic,” Reed said. “Athletes for all sports work hard, but there are very few who can run their guts out every day and come back for more.”

Reed is already looking forward to what’s to come at her new position. She’s especially grateful to Dr. Smith, Coach Cathy Self-Morgan and her assistant, Coach Lozier.

“This district is very supportive of the students, teachers and athletic programs,” Reed said. “It has been pleasantly surprising to have the amount of support that is evident here. I’m loving being part of the Panther Family!”