The 1,000 words that pictures are supposedly worth weren’t speaking kind things to Reid Abney during the winter of his sophomore school year. And for that, Abney is forever grateful.
The Franklin Community High School senior carried an unhealthy 325 pounds on his 6-foot-3 frame midway through the 2011-12 school year when his father, Bruce, made his point without saying a thing.
“My dad showed me a picture of myself, and I didn’t like the way I looked,” Abney remembered. “I was just really lazy and had a bad diet.”
To say Abney received his old man’s message would definitely qualify as an understatement.
Through exercise and improved diet, Abney checked in at 295 last spring when he placed seventh in the discus at the state track and field meet with a toss of 161 feet, 9 inches.
Abney worked hard in preparation of his senior track season and has seen his weight drop further into the 255 to 260 range with 14 percent body fat.
“It was one of those things where Reid was always a big kid. Yes, I had concerns. I remember showing him a picture and saying, ‘Look how big you are.’ But I give him the credit. Reid has done all this on his own,” Bruce said.
With a laugh, he added, “He didn’t get that from me. Reid wishes I would work out, but I won’t.”
Not surprisingly, the younger Abney, who also competes in the shot put for the Grizzly Cubs, has found that increased energy, better sleep habits and improved confidence are but three of the byproducts of such discipline.
“I would like to be a state champion in discus and try for the top five in the state in shot put,” Abney said. “I like shot put more, but I’m better at discus.”
Abney’s memorable junior season featured a postseason in which he won both events at the Columbus North Sectional with a 50-foot put and a top discus throw of 154-2.
The following week it was off to the Connersville Regional in unseasonably cold, windy conditions.
Abney nonetheless secured his trip to state by taking second in discus (147-8) but fell short in the shot put by placing fifth (51-1.5).
Three of the six discus competitors ahead of Abney at state have since graduated — a powerful dose of incentive for a young man who already can’t wait for the 2014 outdoor season to begin.
He’s already off to a fast start in the shot put, posting a 51-11 last weekend to win over 71 competitors at last weekend’s DePauw Indoor Invitational.
Longtime Grizzly Cubs’ track coach Mike Hall marvels at the physical transformation of Abney, who promises to be one of the team’s top point producers this season.
“From last season until now Reid has lost 40 pounds. He really worked hard and came into this season in the best shape he’s been in, and is well ahead of where he’s been in the past,” Hall said. “He has amazing footwork for a guy his size.”
Abney would like to showcase those skills again at the state meet on June 7.
First things first. Franklin’s outdoor track season starts Monday at Greenwood. Only later on can Abney concern himself with another drive to Columbus before focusing on potential trips back to Connersville and Bloomington.
Hall likes the new-look Reid Abney’s chances.
“We at the state meet always take the approach where (Franklin athletes) approach it like a typical meet,” Hall said. “Reid exceeded our expectations down there. We were really pleased with his effort.”
Name: Reid Abney
Family: Father, Bruce; sister, Margot, 16
Favorite TV show: “SpongeBob SquarePants”
Favorite food: His dad’s nacho cheese dip
Favorite movie: “Remember the Titans”
Favorite athlete: Shaquille O’Neal
Favorite team: Baltimore Ravens