Run Reynolds Run: Merrimack Valley siblings dominating cross country scene

  • Merrimack Valley freshman Sophia Reynolds (left) and her older brother David Reynolds, a senior at MV, are seen here on Sept. 29, when they both finished first at the Black Bear Invitational cross country meet in Northwood. Sophia, David and their brother, Matthew, have been making their mark at cross country courses all over the state this fall for the Pride. Photos courtesy of NHCC

  • Merrimack Valley siblings David (613) and Matt (614) Reynolds run during the Black Bear Invitational cross country meet in Northwood on Sept. 29. Courtesy of NHCC

  • Merrimack Valley freshman Sophia Reynolds runs to a first-place overall finish during the Black Bear Invitational cross country meet in Northwood on Sept. 29. Courtesy of NHCC

  • From left to right, siblings Mychal, Sophia, David and Matthew Reynolds. Courtesy of Brian Reynolds

Monitor staff
Published: 10/16/2018 12:06:22 AM

By JAY McAREE

Monitor staff

There are very few days off for the Reynolds family. Hot or cold, worn out or wide awake, win or lose: the Reynolds never stop running.

“I get comments from my neighbors that at any one time of the day, there’s someone running up or down the street. They’re out there everyday,” Brian Reynolds said.

Brian is the father of Matthew, Sophia and David Reynolds, a trio of gifted athletes who’ve emerged as some of the top runners in the state for the Merrimack Valley High School cross country team. And all that training behind the scenes has landed the Reynolds siblings on center stage this season.

While the level of competition and courses are always changing, one aspect of each race has remained the same: A Reynolds dashing across the finish line first.

“It’s been fun. It’s been more fun for me because I’ve watched them compete as much in middle school as they are now,” Brian said. “My wife (Sarah Lester) has a hard time watching sometimes just because when two of them do well and the other is having a bad day, the mood in the house is only as good as the most unhappy child.”

That hasn’t been much of a problem of late.

David, a senior, is currently enjoying his best high school season to date. Using what Merrimack Valley cross country coach David Irving could only describe as “sneaky speed,” David just can’t seem to lose.

During the Manchester Invitational at Derryfield Park on Sept. 22, David beat out more than 300 runners to win the small school boys’ race in 16 minutes, 15 seconds. He followed that up with another victory at the Black Bear Invitational on Sept. 29, racing past 231 other runners – including the highly talented Concord High duo of Forest MacKenzie and Eli Boesch-Dining – to win in 16 minutes, 16 seconds.

Then, this past weekend at the Plymouth Invitational, David continued to pile up the individual titles, racing across the finish line first and winning by 19 seconds.

“He doesn’t look fast when you look at him. He’s got this kind of old man shuffle when he runs,” Irving said. “But the thing is he can just keep going and going. He’s a grinder, he grinds out races and so he’ll run away from you in the last mile, not because he’s speeding up, but just because he’s grinding at the same tempo.”

David credits a lot of his success to his training, especially in the offseason where he takes an all-around approach with more biking and swimming.

“I don’t do as many miles in the offseason as most people, but I do a lot of cross training to compensate for that,” David said. “I also did a lot more workouts over the last season than most people do and I think that makes a big difference.”

He also said his goals are much higher than simply winning regular-season races.

“I’m hoping to win the state championship,” David said. “I got second twice last year and that sucked, so I’d like to win that and maybe see if I can win at the Meet of Champions. I would also like to win there but that one is going to have a lot tighter competition.”

Sophia is a different story.

As just a freshman, she just doesn’t quite have the same race experience as her two older brothers, but that hasn’t made much of a difference, either.

“Sophia is just a workhorse. She’s a very self-motivated individual, which is pretty rare to find when they are a freshman,” Irving said. “She’s just a strong kid. She’s got power. The family lives up on a hill in Andover and you can tell there’s a hill component to their runs because you can’t beat her on a hill, that’s for sure.”

Just like David, Sophia blazed through the course during the Manchester Invitational for a first-place finish in 18 minutes, 48 seconds. Against tougher competition during the Black Bear Invitational, Sophia held off a number of talented runners, notably Champlain Valley’s Alice Larson, Kearsarge’s Mya Dubie and Coe-Brown’s Addison Cox, to win by 21 seconds.

“Coming into the season, I knew I had a chance to be competitive, but I knew I had to work hard over the summer to really put in the training,” Sophia said.

It helped to have a blueprint on what that work would actually entail.

“The boys kind of blazed the way and Sophia has benefited a lot from that,” Brian said. “The cross country team at the middle school started with (Matthew and David) and she got the benefit of more experience and more teammates. She got a routine as a result of what Matthew and David did before her.”

Matthew was the odd man out among the Reynolds family to start the year, but the senior has found his form following a difficult beginning to the season.

“This was his best summer of running so far, and he unfortunately got sick early on and hasn’t had too much to show for it, but he’s healthy now and so that will get better,” Irving said.

It’s been a steady climb. In the Manchester Invitational small school boys’ race, Matthew finished 53rd in 17 minutes, 57 seconds. The Black Bear Invitational brought more progress as placed 20th overall and improved his time at 17:09. Finally, in last weekend’s John Sanborn Invitational in Plymouth, Matthew cruised to a second-place finish – right behind his brother.

“I was really disappointed with how my season started,” Matthew said. “It’s been really tough, but I just kept looking forward to next week, and if that next week didn’t go well, I just kept moving on to the next one and the next one, and hopefully eventually it will come through.”

There may be a time when the Reynolds stop winning, but they won’t ever stop running.

“That’s the one thing they’ve all learned,” Brian said. “They can’t win them all, but they can be happy with how hard they worked at it.”




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