Goldsboro's Huf fights through injury
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 4, 2011 1:48 PM
Each step sent a jolt of pain through her body. She winced, took a good breath and pushed herself to finish.
Once she crossed the finish line, she bent over as sweat poured from he brow and an ache that she may have to endure the rest of her life nagged her as she searched for some shadee.
That's Mikayla Huf's routine these days as she tackles each cross country course on the high school scene. The Goldsboro standout has a torn meniscus that surgery won't repair.
"My first reaction was 'wow, I can race again,'" said Huf. "Then I was upset because the doctor said they couldn't do anything about it. The doctor said some people live with them and you just have to push through the pain. Sometimes they repair themselves and sometimes they don't.
"I thought 'I'm going to have to live with this for a while and that's going to be tough.'"
Robin Peacock, of Goldsboro Orthopaedic, gave Huf a few exercises to help strengthen the knee.
"Whenever I wasn't allowed to run, I did a lot of swimming and worked on extra-body strength because that would help me push late in the run," said Huf. "(But) my cardio really wasn't where it needed to be ... was having a really hard time with breathing."
Throughout the early part of the season, Huf remained on the sidelines and cheered for her teammates. The up-and-down, roller-coaster ride continued until Peacock finally cleared Huf to run again.
Huf couldn't wait to lace up her shoes and hit the trail.
"I said 'I'm going to get back out there and run. I don't care how well I place,'" said Huf.
She never lost her stride.
Huf logged a top-seven finish and earned all-conference honors during the season-ending Carolina Conference championship meet. She placed among the top seven in the annual Bill Kemp Invitational along with teammates Grayson Collins and Tiara Maynor, who have provided tremendous support for Huf on and off the course.
Two days later, Huf and Collins qualified for the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A cross country championships after each posted a top-10 time in the Mideast Regional.
They conclude the season Saturday in Kernersville and hope to become just the third cross country state champion in Wayne County history. Jessica Collins, an Eastern Wayne alum, emerged the county's first-ever state champion in the NCHSAA 3-A meet in 2001.
Wayne Christian sophomore Connor Jones became the county's second state champ last week with a first-place effort in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A meet at McAlpine Park in Charlotte.
"There is a lot of competition out there," said Huf after a meet earlier this season. "They're good runners and you just have to push."
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