By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Finally Maiya Reed came to an award presentation with her two biggest fans.
As the previous winner of two Millington Star Female Athlete of the Year awards (2020, 2021), Reed was joined by her sisters and mother Sonja. Her dad Jesse was miles away on a ship serving in the U.S. Navy.
Then Reed got the news in early August she was voted the 2021 West 10 Media Female Athlete of the Year representing The Millington Star, The Bartlett Express, The Collierville Herald-Independent and The Germantown News & Shelby Sun Times.
“Amazing,” Reed said of her feeling of getting the news. “I did get Athlete of the Year from our area. To have both of them in the same year is a big step. I was really focused on getting the other one. But when you texted me and I found out, I ran to my mother. I just got off of work. I drove home and my mom was on the phone. I told her. I called my sisters and told them. It was really amazing.”
Then the moment got bigger once Reed realized her dad would be home in August and could attend the presentation ceremony. Sonja and Jesse stood by their daughter’s side as she received her award.
Representing Munford High School in soccer, basketball and track, Reed was a leading scorer for both her teams in the pitch and hardwood. Then she joined the 4x400m relay team reaching State for the Lady Cougars.
Maiya said being the first winner of the West 10 Media award from Tipton County makes the honor bigger.
“That means a whole lot,” she said. “If you sit around public schools or like at my school, you always hear athletes say, ‘I need to go to a private school to do this or to be seen or do that.’ This shows you can do it in a public school. It’s nice taking footsteps for others.”
Now Reed is preparing to head off to Walters State to continue her basketball career. She was highly recruited for basketball and soccer but decided the atmosphere and coaching at Walters State would boost her to her dream of playing at a four-year school.
She leaves behind a rich legacy at Munford from her teammates to her coaches like Steve Poindexter, Stan Jamesck, Benard Ivie, Pearl Andrews and Thomas Walters.
And her time on the field, court and track gave her life lessons of perseverance, leadership and being a teammate.
“There’s a moment for each sport,” she said. “For soccer it definitely was like the Dyersburg game when I got red-carded at the end of the game for no reason. I think it was because I really realized I could play. There’s going to be people who do stuff like that (target me) my entire life.”
Reed learned that when you’re a standout, there will be opposition out there trying to stop you or bring you down. That moment in soccer was her junior year. A few weeks later Reed got a lesson in leadership.
“For basketball it was the game at Brighton High School,” she recalled. “Our second competition against them was definitely a big game. Everybody was like, ‘You’re going to lose, it’s Brighton.’ Nobody at our school was even really rooting for us. I went out there and led my team. My coach (Poindexter) looked at me, eye to eye, and said you’re going to finish this for our team. I was holding my stomach and everything. But I told him, I got you. That was that moment.”
Reed’s final life lesson brought to fruition through Cougar Athletics came this past school year. She said she learned in order to reach your dreams you’ll need some help.
“In track, it had to be one of the Bartlett track meets with my 4x800m team and 4x400m team,” she said. “Near the end of the track meet, all our parents were talking about setting a goal. We got on the track and we prayed. We asked what’s our goal? Let’s do it for us and not worry about anybody else. We went out there and broke the school record.”
Her whole life Sonja and Jesse have taught Maiya what she needs to succeed. Reed said her parents practice what they’ve been preaching.
“My mom comes home from her job and deals with six children,” she noted. “The younger ones are just crazy, loud talking and doing everything. For her to come home, deal with all of us and cook dinner and still have time for us just shows me I can do anything too.
“My dad seeing him travel all over the world, he even went to Japan,” Maiya continued. “I was thinking, I wouldn’t do that. That’s not for me. When he’s on the phone and he talks about obstacles in his way. He talked about how he wanted to set Senior Chief and he got it. That showed me dreams do come true with hard work.”
Reed said her being the first two-time of The Millington Star award and her 2021 West 10 Media honor were made possible by the sacrifices of her parents.
“I really learned to hold my own weight on a team watching my mom,” she said. “Seeing how she carries herself with everything going on. Everything is not OK but she doesn’t let it show. She handles things with class.
“Strength is the main word from my dad,” Reed added. “I know it’s not easy. As much as we miss him, he probably misses us 10-times worse. He makes that sacrifice for our futures and well-being.”
Reed’s time and dedication on the prep level has given her these wise words for the next in line.
“If you want it, put it as a priority and work for it,” she concluded. “It’s not going to be easy but it is worth it.”
PREVIOUS FEMALE AOY WINNERS
2015: Bethany Berger
2018: Savanna Owens (Briarcrest)
2019: Rachel Sullivan (Briarcrest)
2020: Maddie Eskin (Houston)