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GOOD NEWS: MC grad returns to community college roots - Odessa American: Good News

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GOOD NEWS: MC grad returns to community college roots

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Posted: Sunday, December 6, 2020 3:00 am

MIDLAND Andres “Andy” Reyes grew up in Andrews. He was raised by his Mexican immigrant grandparents who, he said, probably just had a third or fifth grade education. His grandfather was a farmer. Reyes graduated from Andrews High School in 2006 and enrolled in Midland College.

Today, Reyes holds a master’s degree in Athletic Training, a bachelor’s degree in Exercise & Sports Science and an EMT certification. He is a licensed athletic trainer and a national board-certified athletic trainer. Reyes has been on several athletic training teams, including two summer internships with the Dallas Cowboys football team.

“I’m really just a guy from West Texas,” Reyes said. “I was born and raised here and after having lived in the metroplex for a while, I’m glad to be back in West Texas.”

Since fall 2019, Reyes has been the head athletic trainer for South Plains College in Levelland. His journey to this point in his career has taken him to various university, college, high school and professional sports teams. He said that he is glad to be back at a community college.

“It felt like the right thing for my career when I landed the job at South Plains College,” Reyes explained. “If it wasn’t for a community college, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Reyes was a student athletic trainer while he was at Andrews High School. Jeff Bass, his high school athletic trainer, encouraged him to study athletic training in college and introduced him to Sonya Mikeska, MC’s athletic trainer.

“I had no idea about college and how to enroll,” Reyes said. “We definitely couldn’t afford college tuition, but Sonya walked me through every step of the way and helped me get scholarships. I stayed at Midland College for three years because in addition to an associate degree, I also took classes to become a certified EMT. As an athletic training student at MC, I mainly worked with the baseball team. My last year, I also helped with basketball and other sports.”

“From the moment Andy came to the Midland College campus up to now, he demonstrated a level of maturity, attention to details and a base of knowledge that is uncommon,” Forrest Allen, MC Athletic director, said. “It was clear to us that he would be a success story for his family and would be an alumnus we could point to as representative of what is possible for all of our students.”

In 2009, Reyes transferred to Texas Tech and continued pursuing his education as an athletic trainer. While there, he was an athletic training student for the Red Raiders Football team and interned during the summers with the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas, San Antonio and Oxnard, CA. After graduating from Texas Tech in 2011, he spent a year interning as an athletic trainer with the Texas Tech track team.

In 2012, Reyes began taking courses at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, and in 2014, he graduated with a master’s degree in Athletic Training. After completing his master’s degree, Reyes worked at Brewer High School in Fort Worth as the assistant athletic trainer.

“I couldn’t get back to West Texas fast enough,” Reyes said. “I was really glad when I was hired as the head athletic trainer at Monterrey High School in Lubbock so that I could move closer to home. I enjoyed being at a high school, but now that I’m at a community college, I feel like this is really where I belong. I guess it’s because a community college did so much for me when I first started my higher education journey.”

As head athletic trainer at South Plains College, Reyes administers to the needs of 130-150 athletes in three sports—basketball, track and rodeo.

“Coming from a large 5A high school, where we had 700-800 athletes, it’s nice to be where I’m able to devote more attention to the athletes,” Reyes said. “The three sports all have different types of injuries. Track definitely sees the most injuries, but those are pretty minor compared to rodeo injuries. That’s where we see some pretty severe stuff like torn ACLs, broken bones and dislocated joints.”

Reyes enjoys the feel of a community college.

“I run into the college president Dr. Satterwhite all the time,” Reyes said. “He knows my name, and we visit with one another. That’s something that doesn’t happen at larger universities. In fact, Dr. Satterwhite and I knew each other when I was a graduate student. At the time, he was a dean at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center.”

Reyes lives in Levelland with his 5-month-old border collie named Needle. He said that he likes the small-town atmosphere—it reminds him of Andrews.

He still keeps in touch with Sonya Mikeska and Forrest Allen.

“Sonya helped me so much, not only when I was at Midland College, but also later as I continued with bachelor’s and master’s degrees,” Reyes said. “She is a mentor and good friend. Forrest and I get together when he is in Lubbock for regional tournaments.

“I still think about the people at MC. David Coleman, who was baseball coach when I was there, gave me a job recommendation when I was a grad student so that I got a rotation working with the Texas Tech baseball team. Another outstanding teacher at MC is History Professor Dr. Todd Houck. I really enjoyed his class. He put history in great perspective.”

Reyes also left an impact on the athletic training department at Midland College.

“Andy came to us having new ideas on how to do things in the athletic training room,” Mikeska recalled. “I admired the confidence he had in his abilities and the pride he took in the work he did and the work that was set before him. He carried himself as a professional, even before he was one. Now that Andy has become a colleague, those same impressive attributes he had as a student have become an overwhelming sense of pride for me in that he was once ‘one of mine.’”

“I share the community college value with my athletic training students,” Reyes said. “A community college is the best bang for your buck. The professors are approachable, and I encourage my students to build relationships with their professors. I tell my students to get the most out of the time that they’re here. Community colleges are a special place.”

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