Grace Reid has been an 8-year coach and cheerleader for Nikes

The Notre Dame High School volleyball team really doesn’t need any help.

Over the last 2 1/2 seasons, the Nikes have a combined 69-15 record and a pair of Class 1A state championships to their credit.

The Nikes also have two coaches — Mike Davis and Susan Reid — with college coaching experience and another — Meghan Baker Stephens — who was a star player for the Nikes in her high school days.

Notre Dame has plenty of stars, from Class 1A Player of the Year Gabby Deery to a 2020 Class 1A all-tournament team captain in Katy Stephens and a host of all-state, all-district and all-conference players.

But ask the Nikes who is the most valuable person on the team and to a person they all say the same thing: Grace Reid.

At 3 1/2 feet tall and maybe 60 pounds soaking wet, Reid is barely visible through the forest of comparative giants in the Notre Dame crowd.

But boy does she make her presence felt.

Reid, the eight-year-old daughter of Susan and Kyle Reid, has been to every practice, every game, every tournament Notre Dame has played in the last two seasons. She even sat on the bench during the Nikes state tournament last year in Cedar Rapids.

Grace Reid is both a coach and best friend to the players. She is a bubbling ball of energy, keeping the players loose and even doing drills with them. And if they’re wrong, you better believe Grace Reid is going to let them know.

In a way, Grace Reid has become the heart and soul of the Nikes, the glue that holds the team together, the one that brings an instant smile to their faces and reminds them that there are much more important things in life than volleyball.

Yes, Grace Reid is the Nikes’ most valuable asset.

“I like helping them and being with them and hanging out with them. I like peppering with them,” Grace Reid said between matches Saturday at the Notre Dame Invitational at Father Minett Gymnasium. “They teach me to hit, to pitch, a lot of things. They’re all my best friends.”

“She calls them her best friends. They enjoy it as much as she does,” said Susan Reid, a glint of pride shining in her eyes when she talks about her daughter as she watches her interact with the team. “I think she reminds the girls a lot that it’s just a game. We’re here to have fun. But she’s also super competitive.”

“We like having her around,” Davis said. “The girls enjoy her. She sits on the bench and she keeps score. If I have questions about the score, I know who to go to and she’s always spot on. It’s fun to have her around.”

Grace Reid lets her light shine bright

No matter the outcome on the court, a few words of encouragement and a big hug from Grace Reid bring the players back to reality, smiling from ear to ear. To see also : Falcons signs the second round of draft to the contract for rookies.

“Grace is amazing. She’s the best cheerleader we have on the bench,” said Deery, a University of Iowa volleyball recruit. “She’s a coach and a teammate. She’s here at every practice, every tournament, every game. She’s in the locker room getting us girls excited. She’s like a little sister.”

“Grace has been a really special part of this team the last two years,” said senior middle hitter Abby Korschgen. “Last year she sat on the bench with us at state. She’s been through everything. She’s been to all our practices, all our games.”

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Swimming or volleyball?

On a hot, humid, sweltering early September Saturday, Grace Reid was invited to a pool party with some of her second-grade classmates at Notre Dame Elementary School. To see also : Meet the first woman to wear the Cowboys cheerleading uniform. For Grace Reid, that was never even an option.

“Today she chose to come here instead of a pool party with all her second grade friends,” Korschgen said. “She loves it and we love that she’s on the team with us. It’s a good relationship to play for something else.”

Susan Reid wasn’t at all surprised when she got ready to leave for the tournament Saturday morning and Grace was right by her side.

Missing a tournament? Not on your life.

“Today she had a choice to swim all day with her friends or come to the hot gym and she chose to come here,” Susan Reid said, shaking her head and laughing as Grace sat in front of a large fan in the gym with some of the players. “She is one of our biggest fans and supporters.”

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Helping others put volleyball in perspective

Grace Reid’s value was no better felt than last year when Katy Stephens had to sit out after knee surgery. See the article : Photos: Meet Former Cheerleader Kirk Herbstreit’s Wife. While the rest of the team trained, Grace Reid kept Katy’s mind off things by playing pepper with her, laughing and smiling all the while.

“I think it was really a gift because she was able to keep me busy, keep me busy, away from overthinking everything,” said Katy Stephens, who was home from the University of Northern Iowa on Saturday watching her sister, Taryn, play for. the Nikes. “She’s really such a good support. She’s always there for everybody and always cheers super loud. I think everybody really sees her as a big part of the team because she sits there and keeps score and she’s always cheering everybody on and she’s always everywhere we are. I think that also makes everyone else always be on a higher level because they know there’s always someone watching you.”

“It kind of kept Katy distracted from the gravity of not being able to play her senior year. She helped Katy keep it in perspective,” Susan Reid said.

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Grace Reid is also a task master

It’s not all fun and games with Grace. She knows when it’s time to have fun and when it’s time to get serious and get down to business. She can be just as hard on the players as the coaches.

“She coaches us and tells us, ‘Come on, get that ball up. What are you doing?’ She also has that friendly look, ‘You’ve got this’ or ‘I’m here for you.’ She’s always happy and always upbeat,” Deery said.

“She makes us warm up really hard,” Korschgen said. “She’ll yell at us if we don’t do it right. She even brings a whistle to practice to blow at us. She’s there all the time, wanting us to get better.”

“It’s almost to the point where she’s not afraid to boss the girls around,” Davis said. “If one of the girls does something wrong, she’ll speak right up and tell them.”

Rally for Reid Night

Tuesday night will be a different kind of night for Grace Reid and the Nikes. The seventh-seeded Nikes host eighth-seeded Holy Trinity, but the night is about much more than volleyball.

Notre Dame has its annual “Rally for Reid Night” to help raise money and awareness for childhood cancer. The Reid Foundation was formed in memory of Reid William Gleeson, who died of Medulloblastoma on October 13, 2020 at the age of five. Reid Gleeson was Grace Reid’s cousin, and this is an emotional night for the family, friends, players and coaches. Reid William Gleeson’s mother, Megan, is a graduate of Notre Dame High School.

Grace Reid helped keep Reid William Gleeson’s light shining, and this is a night to remember and help wipe out cancer.

“I think it’s going to be a good match, but at the same time it reminds us that it’s just a game,” Susan Reid said. “The back of one of our shirts says, ‘We play for more than victories.’ . We’re glad Holy Trinity is a part of that. I think it’s going to be a good night.”

Matt Levins is a sports reporter for the USA Today Network in Burlington, Iowa, who has covered local sports for 31 years at The Hawkeye. Reach him at mlevins@thehawkeye.com.

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