Financial woes don’t deter Reder

by Brian Hall

It’s a simple message, one Minnesota men’s track and field athlete Lynden Reder takes to heart.

He reminds himself of it everyday walking into his room when he sees the sign hanging on his door which states, “Never forget where you came from.”

Reder can’t forget.

Coming from a low-income area in Heron Lake, Minn., a town of about 600 people, Reder is a school-record holder and yet remains a walk-on without a scholarship.

An NCAA rule states Reder cannot currently receive a scholarship because he was awarded a need-based grant as a freshman.

Reder never forgets his past; instead, he uses it as motivation in becoming one of the most passionate and hard-working Gophers. Reder and Minnesota head to Des Moines, Iowa, for the Drake Relays this weekend.

“I cannot stand it when I see guys who have turned their back on where they have come from,” Reder said. “I grew up in a tiny little town on food stamps and I will never forget that.”

The rural southwestern Minnesota native has become one of the top hammer throwers in the Big Ten and holds the top three distances in Minnesota’s record book.

But records don’t begin to explain the passionate Reder.

He works for a non-profit organization, Admission Possible, helping low-income high school students get into college.

“When I saw the ad, it was something that hit close to home,” Reder said. “I grew up in a low income environment and still to this day struggle to pay for school.”

“I can identify with some of these kids. They struggle, working and paying bills, but they hope they can do something with their life. I have been fortunate to come in contact with a lot of people that have helped me, including coaches (Phil) Lundin and (assistant Mario) Sategna.”

The sophomore began his Gophers career as a walk-on and despite his success might never receive a scholarship.

Reder received a $2,000 need-based grant from the University as a freshman, which disqualified him from a partial scholarship offer later that season.

“I borrow a ridiculous amount of money just like other students,” Reder said. “It is something that is frustrating. I am a school-record holder and I don’t even get books paid for.

“There is a resentment of athletes out there that they get school paid for, and things are handed to them. I even feel that way sometimes. But I don’t do it for money. I do it because I love it. I have to love it because if I didn’t love it I might let the resentment get to me.”

Reder thought about transferring or quitting track, but decided to continue and took the larger grant over the partial scholarship covering books and 10 percent of his tuition.

“What a bogus rule,” Reder said. “Because I am poor I can’t receive a scholarship that I earned.”

Reder chooses not to get tied up in the frustrating financial situation, instead concentrating on throwing his best.

He and Sategna each believe Reder can become a national-caliber hammer thrower with a combination of improved technique, weight training and hard work.

“The biggest key to his success has been his work ethic,” Sategna said. “He is happy-go-lucky. But, when he gets in the weight room or in the throwing circle he is very intense.

“He can turn his emotion on and off. That can be dangerous to a coach – some guys cannot control that. But he can and he is the kind of guy that can step it up and take it to another level. His success has not been by chance.”

And so Reder continues his work in and out of the throwing circle. Whether as a top hammer thrower or teaching social science at the high school level – his chosen profession – Reder will make the most of his opportunities.

“Not bad for someone from Heron Lake, Minnesota, who started throwing because he was a little too chubby,” said Reder, once again reminded of his roots.