As we’re sure is the case with most in the MA track & field community (and beyond), we are still deeply saddened by the loss of Boston Herald sports writer Joe Reardon. In the countless posts that we’ve seen on Facebook and social media, the most common things said are that he was a great guy, a good friend and someone that would always took the time to listen to whatever you had on your mind.
“Thank you for always being a good friend, making me laugh, and just being you,” said one person.
Another person added, “You were always kind and complimentary to everyone and it made me smile every time.”
In a long and heartfelt message on Facebook, Norwell coach Chuck Martin wrote, “I made sure I talked to him every time I saw him sitting at the media table. He always made a point to ask about my kids and how they were doing. He was such a kind and thoughtful individual. We talked about music, sports and, of course, track & field.”
Steve McChesney, the longtime Newton South coach, shared his thoughts on Reardon, a person he’s known since the start of his coaching career 30 years ago. He was a person he always looked forward to talking with every time he walked into Reggie Lewis or anywhere else where his team was competing.
“There’s few people as a coach that you look forward to seeing at a meet. Joe was always that person,” he said. “Coaches are a little nervous what’s going to happen. We care. We have passion. He just had a way of evening things out to get you in the right mindset for the kids. He had an encyclopedic mind. He knew the kids’ PRs, what they were doing. He cared about other kids and what they were doing. Joe’s loss is a huge loss for the community and a huge loss to all the coaches.”
“There’s a few things that stand out about him,” he added. “He’s incredibly easy to talk to and he certainly, as a writer, gets all the nuisances of the sport. He’s an expert’s expert and as a writer, a true pro. But also, he takes joy in what the kids are doing. He was in everybody’s corner.”
McChesney talked about how Reardon would at times reach out to him by phone, or would talk to him at a meet, not only for a story on one of his athletes or his team, but for his thoughts when it came time to picking his all-star teams for the paper, or about anything else.
“It was a wonderful give-and-take with him throughout his whole career,” he said. “I would share things with him. He would share things with me. I’m sure he did that with so many people. Whenever he wrote about an athlete or team, he did it in high fashion. He had a really good way of capturing the whole spirit of a team being proud of themselves and putting it down in a way that told the story accurately. He was just a dear, dear friend.”
“I’m aching in the heart right now, but smiling thinking about him,” he continued. “If you lived a good life, that’s how people will think of you. That’s how he wanted to be thought of.”
For those interested, a Memorial Service will be held for Reardon on Thursday from 3-6 p.m. at the Cartwright-Venutie Funeral Home, 845 Washington Street, Braintree. Burial will be private.
One of McChesney’s former star runners, Lucy Jenks, continues to enjoy a successful collegiate career. The Stanford junior recently clocked a season best of 4 minutes, 36.25 seconds at the Boston University Terrier Classic, held Jan. 26-27. Jenks also had a solid 9:09.61 for 3K and the UW Indoor Preview in mid January and currently ranks No. 16 in the country in the 5,000 where she had a best of 15:38.63 at the BU Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener.
At the Colyeear-Danville meet, former Natick great Grace Connolly, a senior at Stanford, raced to a time of 16:16.32 for the 5K, and Amherst-Pelham alum and Syracuse junior Sophia Jacobs-Townley had a PR of 16:18.32. Both Connolly’s and Jacobs-Townsley’s times rank among the top 50.
It’s hard to believe but currently more than 50 Div. 1 collegians have broken four minutes for the mile. Virginia sophomore James Donahue, who starred for Belmont Hill School, is one of them. Donahue ran the second sub-4 of his career by placing seventh at the Penn State National Open (Jan. 26-27) with a time of 3:58.83. He first went under the mark at last year’s BU Valentine Invitational where he was – believe it or not – 24th overall with a time of 3:57.11.