Paul Reiss '03
While we may not know how many Track stars it takes to change a lightbulb, we can be certain that it only takes four of them to win the largest meet in Vermont. All of Vermont found that out the hard way when the Rice “Supermen” of 2003 took the Track world by surprise, posting 85 points in the school’s only victory at the Burlington Invitational with just four athletes scoring. All of the four Supermen were multi-sport athletes, (Keith Nunziata ‘03, Brian Mongeon ‘03, Andrew Gill ‘03) yet Paul Vincent Reiss was arguably the most impressive of the squad. Perhaps the best witness to Paul’s athletic ability is his school record in the Decathalon. Additionally, his skills for the boys’ soccer team and role on the basketball team are testaments to his versatility as an athlete. A rare blend of strength, speed, and skill, Paul Reiss forever left his stamp on the record books and the trophy cases here at Rice Memorial.
Paul’s athletic transition began his sophomore soccer season, as a member of the boys’ soccer team that went all the way to the semifinals where they would mark their third consecutive trip to the semifinals, accompanied by a loss to keep them out of the championship game. The following year, Paul’s junior season, things changed. After keeper Greg Langston received a concussion in a tied game with 10 seconds remaining, Paul stepped into net and held Burr and Burton at bay until teammate and fellow Hall of Fame member Kevin Brosseau ‘03 launched a 30 yard shot in the 4th overtime to win the match! The boys moved on to defeat Mt. Abe in the title game with Paul in net.
Paul played varsity basketball his junior and senior years, and spent his first two spring seasons with the baseball team. But where Paul would truly find his calling was on the track, where he would be part of one of the most dominant teams in Vermont history. The “Supermen” as they were dubbed, won both the Burlington Invitational, featuring the best athletes in the state regardless of division, and the DII state championship. He took first place in both hurdle events, as well as long jump, and grabbed a third place finish in the high jump, tallying 36 points as an individual. His dominance would earn him a trip to the New England Championship meet, where he took a 10th place finish in the 300m hurdles.
Paul elected to try the Decathlon, which is comprised of 10 disparate events. Over two days, an individual must complete every event, and is awarded the corresponding number of points based on his time, height, or distance in every event. Success in the Decathlon requires an athlete to have a blend of talents and skills: speed, endurance, strength, and vertical leap. Equally important is the form and technique with which he executes them. All the athleticism in the world will not secure the win without countless hours of practice perfecting form and timing. With the help of Coach Mark McKenna ‘78, among others, Paul went on to take 3rd place at the Decathlon his junior year, and secured the victory as a senior and amassed enough points to hold the school record..
Paul’s involvement at Rice extended beyond the sports fields. A proud participant in Stunt Nite, Paul also was a member of the Band, French Club, Student Council, and National Honor Society. His performance in the classroom earned him recognition as a Burlington Free Press Scholar Athlete. After Paul’s graduation from Rice in 2003, he attended Boston College, and founded “Proportion Design,” where he now works as Creative Director. He currently resides in Medford, Massachusetts with his wife Meghan, and their two children.