Reynolds finds zone on Cornell's attack

Former Towson defender makes smooth transition as leading point scorer

May 04, 2002|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

When she left Towson High as an All-Metro line defender, Jaimee Reynolds never even dreamed she could end up as the all-time leading point scorer for the Cornell women's lacrosse team.

As a Cornell freshman, Reynolds moved to the midfield, emerging as an offensive threat right away. She has scored at least one point in every game of her Big Red career.

The scoring record fell on Tuesday. She had a season-high five goals and an assist in a 14-6 win over Delaware to boost her career total to 184 points, breaking Carli Hills' record of 180.

"That surprised me beyond belief," said Reynolds, The Sun's 1998 Female High School Athlete of the Year.

"It took awhile just to get comfortable on the attacking end. What's helped is that I know what I struggle with as a defender and I use that in my attacking game. Playing attack has helped me as a defender too."

Her combination of versatility and intelligence has Reynolds on the verge of becoming Cornell's first four-time women's lacrosse All-American.

Reynolds, a biomedical engineering major, is so versatile that, this season alone, the Ivy League named her Defensive Player of the Week three times and Offensive Player of the Week twice.

That doesn't surprise Cornell coach Jenny Graap.

"She takes it to the goal with a lot more confidence and authority," said Graap, "but it's not just her points. She just keeps getting better in all aspects of the game - draw control, ground balls; she has a lot more caused turnovers. She contributes significantly to our offense, but at the same time, she's in every single defensive set."

Reynolds, 21, likely will add to her points total today when No. 6 Cornell (13-1) goes for a school-record ninth straight win against No. 18 Johns Hopkins at noon at Homewood Field.

Blue Jays coach Janine Tucker, who recruited Reynolds four years ago, knows all about this one who got away.

"She gets the job done from one end of the field to the other," said Tucker. "She uses her 5-foot-11 frame to her advantage on both ends of the field - for shooting, on defense, in transition. You can literally throw the ball 50 feet in the air and Jaimee can reach it with that 8-foot wingspan."

At Cornell, Reynolds has helped the Big Red rise to national prominence, earning third-team All-America honors every year. Last season, the Big Red made the NCAA tournament for the first time and Cornell is all but certain to be among the 16 teams selected Sunday night for this year's Division I tournament.

"Jaimee's really been a huge part of our success as a program," said Graap, "not just this year but in the previous three years, moving up in the nation, moving up in the rankings, gaining more and more respect. That's ultimately her biggest contribution to the team and the program through her willingness to do whatever's asked of her, play any position we need her to and be out there consistently getting it done."

At the same time, Reynolds is consistently getting it done in the classroom. The 2001 first-team Verizon Academic All-American carries a 3.7 grade-point average in one of the most demanding courses of study on the Ithaca, N.Y., campus.

Although biological engineering is a broad topic, she has an interest in biomechanics and most recently studied plant biomechanics, which, overly simplified, is the study of why plants grow the way they do.

Reynolds spent last summer as an intern in the immunology lab at the Johns Hopkins Allergy and Asthma Center, testing "to determine how certain medicines affect healthy and unhealthy cells."

If she weren't headed for graduate school at the University of Rochester (N.Y.) and eventually a Ph.D., she could certainly make a living conducting time management courses.

Reynolds, who made the Cornell volleyball team as a freshman walk-on and was the starting setter last fall, belongs to several honor societies, tutors other students in math and science, attends as many Big Red games as she can and fits in community service work whenever possible.

"She's doing more than the typical student at Cornell much less the typical student athlete at Cornell," said Graap. "The unique thing about Jaimee is she really loves keeping busy all the time."

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