Day in the life: Reyna Frost wraps up career with dreams of becoming astronaut, WNBA player
The star forward is more than a nationally recognized basketball player
Her day begins in silence and darkness.
Then, the alarm goes off.
The light in her room flickers, forcing her eyes to adjust. Another day.
Reyna Frost wakes up at 8 a.m. to begin her more-than-ordinary life as a women’s basketball player for Central Michigan University. She slips on her glasses and trudges upstairs to cook eggs and munch on Honey Nut Cheerios.
Frost has two fellow basketball players as roommates at Tallgrass Apartments – senior guard Presley Hudson and junior forward MacKenna Kelly.
At precisely 8:45 a.m., the Reese senior gets in her 2001 Pontiac Montana for a short drive to her capstone in mathematics in Pearce 203 with professor Lisa DeMeyer.
Like most vehicles, there’s a story behind the car.
The sleek-red Montana with tinted back windows and littered with CMU parking stickers was sitting on the side of the road in Reese when Frost caught her first glimpse.
She drove her old 1990 Buick Century, which topped out at 85 miles per hour and was falling apart, until she was a sophomore at CMU. Her grandfather, Bob Huizar, went with Frost to check out the car.
“I bought (the car) with my own money,” Frost said. “I’m attached to it. When you buy something yourself, you don’t want to get rid of it.”
The minivan is Frost's transportation for attending class religiously, which is essential to achieving her off-court goal: Becoming an astronaut.
Frost projects as a potential mid-to-late-round pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft, a league that only has 12 teams. If she goes undrafted, there could be an option to sign a training-camp contract, much like CMU graduate Tinara Moore did in 2018.
“I’m confident that Presley (Hudson) and me can play overseas, for sure,” Frost said. “I know there have been WNBA scouts at our games. For me, they ask (assistant coach Murriel) Page if I can play guard. We know our names are out there.”
If all else fails and Frost chooses against pursuing basketball, she could end up with her head in the clouds – literally.
That’s because Frost dreams of becoming an astronaut, or at least working in space research.
Once basketball ends for Frost, she will consider returning to school for her graduate degree to focus on astrophysics or math. In the meantime, the rebounding machine on the court has already made connections with NASA workers to help secure an internship down the road.
“Going to the moon would be pretty cool,” Frost said. “If I had the opportunity, I don’t think I’d turn it down.”
Frost will graduate this upcoming May with a bachelor’s degree in math. CMU women’s basketball coach Sue Guevara said Frost’s studies have set an example for the entire team, and her work ethic in the classroom is contagious.
“Reyna has to work for everything,” Guevara said. “She’s got to study. She studies on the road, on the bus and still has time for Frosty Facts. It speaks to the commitment you need if you want to excel.”
After two classes to begin the day, Frost makes her way to the basketball court.
She laces up her shoes but doesn’t take the floor when practice begins.
Her time starts in the film room with Hudson, sophomore guard Micaela Kelly, sophomore guard Maddy Watters, freshman center Jahari Smith and sophomore forward Kyra Bussell. With the six of them is coach Guevara.
"I didn't grow up in a basketball family, so my IQ has gotten a lot better since I was a freshman," Frost said. "The coaches taught me how to watch film, digest it and get something out of it."
For 45 minutes, CMU’s reserves go through drills. At 1:07 p.m., Frost finally returns to the gym – starting with warm up jump shots.
The buzzer screams, and Guevara calls her group to partake in a defensive drill. Frost’s first opponent is forward Sam Robinson, just a freshman. Against Robinson, Frost quickly wins the battle by forcing her into a double dribble.
Frost takes over as the ball handler, a skill she’s developed over the years. She burns past her defender and kicks the ball to freshman guard Anika Weekes for a jumper – swish.
Back on defense again, Frost is challenging 5-foot-6 guard Kalle Martinez, who brings speed to the table. Even though she wants to go for a steal, assistant coach Courtney Shelton forces her to play smart.
“Sit, Reyna,” Shelton yells. “Sit with your hands wide. Don’t go for the steal, just stay low.”
Prior to a 3-on-3 cut throat drill, Guevara preaches to her surrounding squad. Since the beginning of the season, she’s continuously searched for the “dog” inside players, also known as grit.
“Why doesn’t anyone get mad on defense?” Guevara questions. “One-on-one, Reyna gets beat, she’s upset. Why don’t they get mad at help-side defense? We need to be a better help-side team.”
The 3-on-3 game features four different teams. Frost has Kelly and Weekes in her group. The rules are simple – two points for an offensive rebound, two points for a defensive stop and one point for a deflection. If a team gets a stop, they stay on the floor.
Frost’s team starts on offense, and she attacks from the top of the key and scores in the lane while drawing a foul.
Guevara, speaking under her breath, says, “Reyna, that’s what I’m talking about.”
Frost’s team eventually wins the session. Her group also comes out on top in the ensuing 5-on-5 drill.
Sitting through team awards as a freshman, Frost watched CMU women's basketball great Jewel Cotton earn the Heart and Hustle award, which is voted on by the team.
Frost made it her own goal to add that award to her resume, which she did during the team's ceremony following the 2017-18 season.
"I was like, 'Dang, I really want to be the hustle player of the team,'" Frost said. "So when I got (the award), I was really proud of it."
Sitting in McGuirk Arena as an inexperienced freshman during the award ceremony back in 2016, she understood the need to get in the gym, lift weights and take her game to the next level.
Frost did just that — developing her strength, speed and toughness by intensifying her workouts.
Frost's go-to meal? Spaghetti. After the typical day of class, practice and weightlifting, she makes her way back to her apartment for her favorite dish.
She said she adopted the spaghetti recipe from her father.
“My dad makes it by melting cheese into the tomato juice and putting it onto the noodles,” Frost said. “It’s really good.”
Eating is an imperative part of Frost’s day. As a matter of fact, it is for all athletes. CMU’s nutritionist, Leslie Hildebrandt, keeps the Chippewas on a healthy diet. Frost said she’s told to eat at least every two hours, even if it’s just a snack.
“She’s told us things we can buy at the stores to save money,” Frost said of Hildebrandt. “We just have to be smart. Obviously, we can’t eat chocolate all day. I really like apples, so I have those.”
Living with Hudson gives Frost an opportunity to spend time watching film with her teammate to prepare for an upcoming game. The pair notice different things and share tips throughout the week.
"We can see things before the coaches tell us stuff," Frost said. "You see little things that you don't know if coaches are going to talk about, but it makes it easier to remember tendencies for the game."
When Frost isn’t studying film or working on homework, she’s watching Netflix. Right now, the main shows on in the apartment are "Grace and Frankie," along with "Marvel's Runaways."
Hudson often watches "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," but whoever finds their way to the couch first gets to pick the show for the night.
"I really like the superhero shows, like the nerdy ones," Frost said. "(My roommates) don't like those as much."
Regardless of the show on the TV, food on the dinner table or final numbers on the scoreboard after a game, Frost said she appreciates her roommates on-and-off the court. They often keep her smiling and laughing.
"It's fun to be able to hang out with your teammates on the court, but then I really get to know them in the home," Frost said.
Adjacent from Frost’s bed is her bookshelf. The top rack has novels of all sorts, but the bottom three contain awards – trophies, rings, plaques and even a signed basketball from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Frost's favorite piece of hardware is her NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 ring. She said she wants another one.
"I'd put it right here," Frost said, pointing to an empty spot on her shelf. "That'd be nice."
With the Mid-American Conference tournament just around the corner, Frost plans to snag momentum, go on another winning streak and help take her team back to the Big Dance.
Her day ends in silence and darkness, ready for another opportunity to live the life of a student, athlete and champion.