Article reposted from Ithaca.com
Author: Steve Lawrence
I wish I could find a photo that would serve as the “before” to the photo we used for this story – the one of Cheyenne Reynolds frolicking in a pile of paper scraps. The “before” photo would have been taken somewhere around 1993, when Cheyenne and my daughter, Audrey were toddlers and best pals. Our families did a lot of babysitting for one another.
Cheyenne is now 25, and the photo you see here was taken at the conclusion of the college football national championship game, a classic showdown that would see the Tigers of Clemson prevail over the Alabama Crimson Tide, avenging a 3-point loss from last year. Cheyenne – a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer at Clemson – was on the sidelines for that game too, and to do snow-angels in confetti after the victory last week, well, that was awesome.
Cheyenne’s parents (Anne Shakespeare and Arleigh Reynolds) both attended veterinary school at Cornell, and all three kids – Cheyenne, Mickey and Jay – started their education at the Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School of Ithaca. (In fact, Jay was a fine soccer and lacrosse player for the Little Red of Ithaca High, and the 2016 grad now attends Morrisville.) Cheyenne graduated from high school in Alaska (where her dad is renowned in the field of sled dog nutrition and performance), and went on to Springfield College to earn an undergrad degree in Athletic Training. She would do numerous on and off-campus rotations, as well as a 2-year internship, and after that she went on to work for the football team at Western Carolina.
Cheyenne told me, “When you’re an undergrad you’re required to do a series of rotations, and the college helps with the placement, but after you graduate, you’re on your own.”
After enrolling at Clemson as a graduate student, Cheyenne spent the 2015 season as a member of the football athletic training staff. In July of 2016, she switched over to work with the volleyball team, explaining “everyone gets 1 year with the football team, and then you move on.” I asked her if the move felt like a lateral or an upward move, and she offered, “I do have a staff member supervising me now, but I am the only trainer working directly with the volleyball team.”
She stayed connected with the football team though, working the football summer camps, and still knows all the players.
“Given that we lost last year’s game by three points, there was a singular purpose,” she said. “There was a pyramid made up tiles, and the bottom row was the regular season games. Then it went to the in-state games, the ACC tournament, the playoff game (versus Ohio State, in which the Tigers demolished the Ohio State Buckeyes, 31-0) and finally, the national championship.” After each game, she explained, the tile was taken down, every player signed it and it was put back up.
For the Clemson/Alabama rematch, Cheyenne watched the epic contest from the Medical Observation box, spending her pre-game and post-game time on the sidelines with the team and halftime in the locker room. When the Tigers scored the go-ahead touchdown with a single second left on the clock, she was one of the thousands of Tiger Faithful on the field, taking in the historic moment.
We spoke on the phone just after the team’s victory parade. “There were 80,000 people in the stadium,” Cheyenne told me. “It was so special, and I’m so proud to be a part of this.”
In May, Cheyenne will be awarded a Master’s in Biological Science, and look for her next adventure. “I’m not really tied to a geographical area,” she said. “I’ll try anywhere once!”
I asked her if she might want to work as a trainer for her dad’s world-class sled dogs, and she replied “That’s not really my cup of tea.” How about a job at Cornerstone Veterinary Hospital, her mom’s practice here in Ithaca? “Unlikely.”
I know some young people who seem adrift in the “grown-up world,” and I worry about them. Believe me, Cheyenne is not one of them.