Senior spotlight: cross country runner Reed Parent

Jessica Peterson, Sports Reporter

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Leading the pack on both the men’s cross-country poster hanging around on campus and on the course is senior Reed Parent, from Otsego, Minn., who has been on the Winona State University cross country team for his entire college career. Parent’s passion for running began long before his years at Winona State. He has loved running from a young age. 

“When I was little, I was full of energy, and my mom would tell me to go outside and run five laps around the house. I would time myself to see how long it would take me,” he said. “In the summertime, my mom made it a requirement to run or bike around our neighborhood twice, which was about a one-mile lap.”

Attending Rogers High School in Rogers, Minn., Parent enjoyed being a part of his high school cross country team.  He began distance running in seventh grade, and joined cross country in the eighth grade.

“The middle school would run with high school, but there was no superiority complex. They were very accepting. After races, everyone would be giving each other high-fives. I decided I really enjoyed cross-country after I won a couple races in high school, and realized that the running community is different from any other sports community out there,” Parent said. “It’s the repeated exposure to the generosity of everyone and the shared experience in this friendly environment. It was the continuous feeling of camaraderie and it’s a huge family.”

Leaving high school, Parent continued his cross country career at Winona State. As a senior, he will be graduating in the spring, but he knows he is leaving the team in good hands.

“We’ve been working hard at practice to get our young team some experience. Our top five consists of two seniors, and the rest are younger, so we’re trying to toughen them up for next year.”

Although cross country is a difficult sport, Parent enjoys bringing some humor and light-heartedness to practices. He recalls a specific practice when he was a sophomore at Winona State where he helped keep his teammates spirits up.

“We were running repeats, and we were going really fast, and everyone was tired. We had a

couple more left, and just to bring life to the group I was like ‘alright, after these next couple, we’re on to the next set. Ready to go again,’ ” Parent said. “Everyone’s just so tired but bringing excitement, as well as being the jokester of the group and bringing life back to the group of guys is defining.”

Aside from cross country, Parent leads a busy life. As a movement science major with a minor in psychology, Parent has intentions to go pre-med after graduation. He is struggling between going on to study pediatrics or becoming a sports physician. He shared why he thinks he would do well as a sports physician.

“The moment I started walking I was playing sports, so being around sports for so long, I would like to deal directly with athletes. In that field, I would like to address the athlete; I’m comfortable being blunt with athletes, and I want to help them work back from an injury to 100% health. I like seeing their progression and seeing how much better I helped them to be,” Parent said.

Cross country posters around campus feature Parent as a leader on the team. They also feature some long locks, which he no longer has.

“I’m also a hockey player, and I don’t care if I look like a goon when I show up to meets, and it was fun for the time being for my sophomore and junior year. I decided to cut it because it was time. I had my fun with it. Many friends and family were telling me it was time to cut it,” he said.

Although Parent is dedicated to running and academics, he also enjoys activities such as hunting and being outdoors.

“I’d love to go on a hunting trip in Alaska; I love the outdoors and I would love to see the northern lights. I know that if I were up there I would be up almost all night, because I love the outdoors. I really enjoy nature,” Parent said.

Parent and Winona State’s cross country team will be running this weekend on Friday, Sept. 29 at the BluGold Invitational meet in Colfax, Wisc., hosted by University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.