By Mike Wood
Special to Chabot Athletics
Chabot College freshman Reece Proctor certainly made his mark in a memorable March, statewide and then nationally.
Proctor closed out the month in grand style at the Stanford Invitational, running a personal-record 1:51.60 in the 800 meters, besting multiple Division I runners and clocking the best community college time in the event in the nation this season. Proctor began March by taking the state lead in the 1,500 meters, going 3:55.18 at the Occidental Spring Break Classic in Los Angeles.
"He's done a phenomenal job; he's worked hard and really deserves it," Gladiators track and field coach Kyle Robinson said.
Proctor and Robinson planned for the freshman to start out the Stanford 800 very fast, and his strong finish vaulted him into the national charts. As other meet results filtered in through that weekend, the Piedmont High graduate's ranking moved to third nationally, still extremely impressive.
"It was about taking a risk on Saturday and it ended up paying off," Proctor said. "It was what we've been practicing. In the 800 often it's that last 200 that makes it or breaks it, especially when we decided to go out as fast as we had planned."
He's also put his name into the Chabot history books twice. Proctor's time in the 1,500 is fifth-best in school history and the 800 time is third all-time for the program. Quite a way to take the fast track to his collegiate career.
"He's a freshman, but he's not a freshman," Robinson said. "He's young, he's 18 years old but he's mature beyond his age."
Proctor began running cross country in the sixth grade and track and field in the seventh. It was about finding a sport he was "decent" in, he said.
"I didn't like it initially. ... I kind of got forced into (it) by my parents," he said. "As time went on, I got pretty decent at it. I had tried lacrosse and was pretty bad at that; tried baseball and was horrendous. I started to be decent in running."
Obviously much beyond "decent" these days, Proctor is eyeing a potential transfer to a four-year school after he completes his freshman school year, noting Colorado and couple of other Pac-12 schools as potential landing points.
"It affirms what I already knew, that I'm in a position where I could complete with some of the best guys in the country," Proctor said. "I'm not saying I am one of the best in the country. But it affirms what I knew but others might not have."
Academically speaking, Proctor is focusing on kinesiology, though he would like to get into coaching.
"I'm interested in body mechanics," he said. "It helps a lot to have the science to back that up, so you can format your training so it is a lot more effective."
Robinson sees Proctor's coaching potential already, recounting how the runner helped officiate the pole vault at a recent meet in between his own events.
"He was enjoying himself, and was going to be of service that day, too," Robinson said. "He is one of the most helpful athletes I've had. He has all the qualities of a coach, if he wants to do that down the line, or educator or teacher or what he decides to be."
Photo of Reece Proctor from a recent meet, courtesy of Chabot track