clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Summer's gone: Mardsen suspends NCAA champ Reid

It looks as though two-time NCAA balance beam champion Summer Reid, an oft-injured Utah junior, will not defend her title and may, in fact, be done with gymnastics.

Reid was suspended indefinitely 11/2 weeks ago by Coach Greg Marsden for "breaking team policy" - a situation that both say has been building for a long time and had no single trigger point, incident or cause. Reid said that, as of now, she is not working toward being reinstated, although she is continuing with her classes and plans to do so through summer quarter."I've been struggling with burnout the last two or three years," said Reid, whose mother died of cancer on a New Year's Eve - three weeks before her competitive collegiate gymnastics debut. "I've been struggling with a lot of things other than gymnastics."

She called her suspension "a relief" and said it was the result of "a multitude of factors."

"It's not like I've been an angel for him," said the 21-year-old from Reno of her demeanor as a gymnast. "My main focus right now is to get myself together and figure out what I want to do with my life."

Injuries have been a frustrating part of Reid's life at Utah. Wrist tendinitis kept her from training well from the beginning of her freshman year, and this season she competed in only a single routine because of the wrist problems, which persist despite two surgeries last summer, and because of a torn calf muscle she re-injured Jan. 29.

She does not know whether she will return to the Ute team or transfer to another team, finish her schooling at Utah or go elsewhere for that.

The door is open to her to return to the Utes, and Marsden said if she wants to transfer he would release her from the scholarship, meaning she could compete immediately next season. Because she did only one routine this season and because of her injuries, he said she would probably have two years of NCAA eligibility remaining.

"I think my gymnastics career is over," Reid told the Deseret News Thursday by telephone. "I never intended it or expected it or wanted it to end so abruptly like this, but that's life. It's not like I haven't dealt with hard stuff before in my life, and I'm learning how to deal with hard things that happen to me, which is a good thing. And I think that's going to make me just stronger for this. It's been a hard decision.

"Blessings come in rare form. Sometimes you think it's the worst thing in the world at the time that it happens, but as long as you can deal with them in a positive way and move on and go forward, you can become stronger from it. I think that is the kind of situation right now.

"At this point in my life, it's just better for me to get on my feet without gymnastics. It's kind of a weird ending."

Her first year at Utah had a weird ending, too. Good weird. After a season of weight gain following her mother's death, plus frustration over her wrist soreness, Reid scored a 9.925 on the balance beam to became the first Ute freshman since Sue Stednitz in 1982 to win an NCAA individual championship. Last year, she became one of only three athletes ever to win two NCAA beam titles, tying for first with a 9.9.

Regarding the suspension, she said, "It's kind of been a buildup of two years. Me and Greg have hit heads numerous times, and he felt it was probably more beneficial to the team if I was just not on it." Because of her injuries, Reid found it a struggle to simply come in and train the way she wanted and the way Marsden wanted her to every day.

"I love it here. This is something hard for me," Reid said, "but at the same time, Greg and I realize it's time for me to move on. I'm not sure if this is the way for me to go, but I think in the long run things are going to be all right. And I'm going to be able to start my life and get some things in order and in place that have needed to be dealt with for a long time. Hopefully, I can take the positive things that I've had from this experience and use them in a real-life situation."

Marsden is fond of Reid and thinks he's been understanding of her situation throughout her career. He said he might have suspended another person sooner.

"It's not a step that was taken lightly," he said. "I wanted desperately for this (Reid's career) to work." In the past, Marsden has told some athletes not to return for the next season, but this is apparently the first midseason suspension in the Ute program.