Running To Success: QC Senior Overcoming All Obstacles

2 years ago Eric Sorenson 0

Queen Creek High School’s Jessie Reynolds kept a secret.

Well, at least until now.

The well-liked, highly involved senior who stars on the Bulldogs’ track team has been dealing with an obstacle since birth which only her family members were made aware of. But, with time comes strength, and courage as Reynolds continues to strive towards her goal of running track in college.

First, let’s rewind to Reynolds’ infancy when “something just wasn’t quite right” according to her father.

“She was about a year old and we’d put her down on the ground and she’d just crawl really funny, just on her right side,” Paul Reynolds explained to “We couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong. We took her to the family doctor and he said, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it.'”

Thankfully, the Reynolds did worry about it and after seeing several specialists, including a neurologist, it was discovered there was a blood clot on Jessie’s brain from a stroke suffered while she was in the womb or shortly after she was born.

The family was immediately made aware of the potential long-term consequences from the stroke which impaired her left side: struggles speaking, walking, potential learning disabilities.

Jessie’s left hand and side are smaller than her right but from a young age it became apparent she wasn’t going to let her limitations impede her passion to live life to the fullest.

The sessions started at an early age for Jessie. She participated in physical,  as well as speech therapy, focusing each day on exenuating the positive, rather than dwelling on the negative.

She also, in a rather unique way, found her love for track.

“When I was five or six years old my dad would run me on the treadmill every day after school,” Jessie said to “After that I think I just started to love running and track. I started competing in seventh grade.”

Now, she is hoping a strong senior season with the Bulldogs could propel her into a position to run at the collegiant level, hopefully at NAU if she improves her times this spring.

Reynolds is well on her way to accomplishing said goal according to her head coach.

“The work she has already put in has made her much faster,” Shaun Hardt said to “When she was in seventh and eighth grade she was more of a distance runner. She’s gotten much faster. Now she’s a long distance sprinter for us.”

Her wide-ranging accomplishments don’t stop in athletics. Reynolds is Queen Creek’s senior class president, who sports a 3.5 grade-point-average and even finds some spare time to pick up a guitar or ukulele. Her musical passion started when her mother encouraged her to play piano, in hopes of strengthening the left side of her body, as well as her brain.

Until now, she has kept her past a secret, hoping only to be accepted rather than judged.

“I just didn’t want people to treat me a little different,” Reynolds explained. “It’s something I didn’t want public. I’m definitely a little different than most athletes.”

Different is good.

Especially if you’re Jessie Reynolds.