"It was a sweet victory for her," confided Reed's father, David Reed, of her first U.S. title and huge confidence booster after she narrowly missed making the 2006 Olympic team. "It was a vindication for her for this season, for sure."
Reed's season was fraught with disappointment in the aftermath of frazzled nerves and nervous anticipation leading up to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
February brought a maelstrom of un-Reed-like finishes at World Cup events earlier this season.
Despite Reed's last-ditch attempt to make it onto the Olympics-bound aerials team, finishing 13th at the World Cup in Lake Placid in late January, her efforts weren't quite enough, and so she stayed behind while teammates Emily Cook (Belmont, Ma.) and Jana Lindsey (Black Hawk, Ida.) made the trip to Italy. Meanwhile, Reed hopped on a plane and spent the first week of the Olympics on the beach in Mexico.
Reed's beach break in February seemed to do the trick.
She went on to post her first top-10 finish of the season, at the World Cup competition in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this month. On Saturday, she nabbed the U.S. title at the U.S. Championships in Killington, Vt. She threw a back Full-Full (two flips, two twists) followed by a back Lay-Full (two flips, one twist) to score 160.43, beating Lindsey, who finished second, and Cook, who placed third.
"I finally feel like my old self, with my old mindset," Reed said after the win. "It was great to jump without that feeling of 'I have to qualify for the Olympics.'
"I've definitely broken down some barriers for myself in the last month and that will go a long way in the future."