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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Isis Gill-Reid transitions from tennis to track and field

Gill-Reid lead the women’s tennis team with 16 doubles wins last season. PHOTO: Luke Malanga ’20

Isis Gill-Reid has traded in her tennis racket for track spikes and will compete for the St. Joe’s track and field team this winter and spring.

The former St. Joe’s tennis standout began her career in the spring of 2016 at Longwood University and by 2019, after three seasons at St. Joe’s, had exercised all of her NCAA mandated four years of eligibility on the tennis court. However, as an academic junior, she has decided to try her hand at track in her final year on Hawk Hill.

Gill-Reid said that the transition has done more than affect what kind of athlete she is.

“Moving from one team to another has shaped my character development,” Gill-Reid said. “I feel like I have something to prove, so I’m going all out. I need to show that I’m hungry.”

Outside the track, or court, Gill-Reid knows what it takes to develop character. She was the St. Joe’s representative for the Atlantic 10 Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) which “strives to be active in communities on campus and across the nation serving those communities through campaigns and initiatives built to benefit NCAA athletes and their peers.”

As part of the SAAC, Gill-Reid was a member of a group of representatives that introduced the A-10 SAAC Mental Health Week in the fall of 2018. She said her position on the committee was admittedly part of her decision to continue being a student-athlete.

“[Being an A-10 rep] played a huge role,” Gill-Reid said. “I was in the running for a possible NCAA rep this year, but they weren’t sure if I was going to be an athlete or not. That was something I really wanted.”

However, Gill-Reid said she has embraced the challenge of switching sports head on. Instead of hitting tennis balls for hours on end during the summer, she adapted a CrossFit regimen focused on core strength and increased her cardio.

Throughout the summer, she was training with one, relatively modest goal for the preseason in mind.

“At the beginning I was scared that I would be the last one at every single practice but that hasn’t happened yet,” Gill-Reid said.

She ran track when she was younger but more recently has swam competitively and sees similarities in the mentality that she needs to have. Despite track and field being an individual sport, Gill-Reid said she has drawn on her teammates.

“I wanted to try something different,” Gill-Reid said. “To me track is like swimming, it’s just you against the clock. It’s very individualized, but I’m on a team with girls that are very supportive and just pushing me to be better.”

Gill-Reid said her new track and field teammates, who she knew prior to joining the team but never competed with, were extremely important in easing her transition between the two sports.

One teammate specifically is senior Aliyah Stokes, who will run short sprints alongside Gill-Reid, and said her energy at practice is always positive, despite the difficulties of learning a new sport at such a high level.

“Transitioning to Division I track is really hard regardless of past experiences,” Stokes said. “It’s tough but she shows up ready to practice and be a part of the team every day and it’s awesome energy.”

Senior Tamar Bordeau, who Gill-Reid said has also helped her assimilate to the team, said the atmosphere around the track and field team is encouraging.

“Our team is very supportive of one another so we make it our priority to ensure our new members are doing okay,” Bordeau said. “Coming from another sport, I’m confident that she will work just as hard on the track as she did on the tennis court.”

Despite the support from her new teammates, Gill-Reid can’t help but miss playing a sport that was once such a large part of her life.

“I’m feeling kind of nostalgic and I miss [tennis] more than I thought I would, so I’m trying to play like once a week,” Gill-Reid said.

Tennis has become a hobby and now that track is her main focus. Gill-Reid said she hopes to make as much of an impact on the track as she did on the tennis court. She said her goal is to medal at the A-10 Championships, and Stokes says she is on the right track.

“She’s showing powerful potential so I’m super excited to see her compete this season,” Stokes said.

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