Seventeen years old

April 29, 2020

Schools had come from all over the district to compete in the 2018-2019 Marauder Invitational, the last regular season meet.

Meiner began competing around 7 a.m. with shot put. After two more events she only had the 100 and 300 meter hurdles left.

I think I was more mentally tired. When I went down at the Marcus Invitational, I thought my season was over.”

— Maddie Meiner, 12

As Meiner was running the 100 meter hurdle she felt a stabbing pain in her leg. She had strained her hamstring and collapsed on the track.

Thoughts ran through her head as she laid on the track.

What was happening?

Was her season over?

Would she ever compete again?

After gathering her bearings she picked herself up and limped to assistant coach Andrew Reinberg.

Reinberg helped Meiner stand and reassured her that she was going to be fine and that she would be OK by district.

“There wasn’t any ‘We will see what happens,’ it was always ‘You’re going to be fine,’” Meiner said.

She spent the next week cutting back on practice and rehabilitating her leg. When she finally made it to the district meet, she had started to recover but she was still nervous about her injury.

Twelve hours of competition later and her leg didn’t stop her at all. She ended up qualifying for the area competition for all four of her events.

While running the area 100 meter dash, Meiner felt the stabbing pain in her leg again.

She knew her injury was back.

Meiner kept running despite the pain. The throbbing pain in her leg didn’t cause her to collapse this time, and she ended up finishing in first. As she crossed the finish line, tears streamed down her face. She went from fearing her season would be over to winning first in area. Combining the pain in her leg with the emotional whiplash, Meiner was exhausted.

She had to give up competing in the 300 meter race because she and the coaches both knew it wouldn’t help her strained hamstring.

Photo submitted by Maddie Meiner
Senior Maddie Meiner throws shot put a distance of 37 feet and 7 inches at her junior year area meet. Meiner plans on competing in track at OSU in the future.

“I think I was more mentally tired. When I went down at the Marcus Invitational, I thought my season was over,” Meiner said.

The next week, Meiner competed at the regional meet in high jump. Her mind and body were exhausted. All she had to do was make the same jump she had made at every single meet that year.

Five feet, six inches. No problem.

She ran horizontally to the mat, lifted herself and hit the pole. As her back connected with the landing pad she knew she had lost. She wouldn’t be going to state. She rolled off the pad and Reinberg held her as she cried.

“He had seen how hard I had worked all season, how much I wanted it,” Meiner said. “I felt like he understood how I was feeling.”

Her sights had been set on state all year and that dream was gone.

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