Keeping it Reel: Guthrie's Coulter Reel draws from frustration, brother to fuel bronze medal win

·3 min read

AUSTIN — Having entered the world of track and field competing in the high jump as a 10-year-old, it was a tough pill to swallow when Coulter Reel came up short of the medal stand Friday.

The Guthrie senior needed a calming walk down the Mike A. Myers Stadium infield to stop the tears from flowing. She didn't have time to let the déjà vu of a second consecutive fourth-place finish keep her down; her next event approached.

Expectations weren't that high — at least not from herself. Reel entered with the eighth-best qualifying mark in the triple jump.

But there was something about the sting of missing an earlier medal.

Reel jumped 36 feet, 3½ inches to earn bronze in the Class 1A girls event. She moved into third place on her second-to-last attempt — a personal record by a foot and a half — prompting an "ugly cry."

Photos: Day 2 of the 2022 Texas UIL State Track and Field Meet

"Really, I feel like what kind of put it over the edge was just the frustration from earlier this morning," she said. "I don't like to not do as well as I wanted to. I think that frustration and that 'want' to do better kind of is what pushed it over the edge a little bit in the triple jump today."

Reel also had inspiration from which to draw.

Her little brother, freshman Griff Reel, competed in the 3,200-meter run that morning. Like his sister, Reel dealt with the disappointment of a near miss. The younger Reel finished fourth in 10 minutes, 14.68 seconds — 0.68 seconds behind the last medalist.

Guthrie senior Coulter Reel won the bronze medal in the Class 1A girls triple jump at the UIL state track and field meet Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.
Guthrie senior Coulter Reel won the bronze medal in the Class 1A girls triple jump at the UIL state track and field meet Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.

It wasn't just the performance that makes Reel a proud big sister. Griff fractured his femur during an October football game, only to return in two months. That beat the anticipated timetable by 30 days.

"To make it to the state track meet as a freshman, after breaking a femur, watching that unfold has been really kind of a big deal for me," Coulter said," and my whole family."

It sure has been. And Jodie Reel has had a front-row seat.

The Jaguars' multisport coach also holds the title of dad to Coulter and Griff. He's gotten to watch the siblings grow up on the track.

"They're always there cheering each other on," Jodie Reel said. "We started summer track when Coulter was 10, and they've been together through all of it since then."

That only made Saturday's competition more special. The one opportunity the siblings had to make the trip to state together came to be. Coulter called it a blessing.

Guthrie's Griff Reel, left, and Loraine's Elijah Vargas compete in the Class 1A 3200 meter run during the UIL State Track and Field meet, Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.
Guthrie's Griff Reel, left, and Loraine's Elijah Vargas compete in the Class 1A 3200 meter run during the UIL State Track and Field meet, Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.

"The last two weeks, getting to have each of them in practice, the three of us each afternoon — some memories I'll never forget," Jodie Reel said. "It was amazing."

Qualifying for three state events is pretty amazing, too. Coulter also qualified in the 300 hurdles, which she enters with the sixth-seeded time. Another medal likely would require a significant increase in PR for Saturday night's race.

Her coach knows she has it in her, just as she did in the triple jump.

"She had to PR pretty dramatically to have a chance in the triple jump, and I knew she could," Jodie Reel said. "She did very, very well, but now we shift our attention and we're looking for a medal in the 300 hurdles."

This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Guthrie senior Coulter Reel wins bronze medal at UIL state track meet