By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
In addition to her long list of accomplishments, Alex Buck’s biggest disappointment said as much about why she is this year’s The Herald Bulletin Girls Cross Country Athlete of the Year.
Buck, a freshman at Pendleton Heights, won the Madison County, sectional and regional titles, but she had a rather large physical difficulty at the semistate meet in Fort Wayne.
Buck was running in the top 10 when disaster struck.
“I was running where I wanted to be the first half of the race,” Buck said. “Then I felt intense pain in my foot. I knew there was something seriously wrong. Girls started passing me.”
It became an effort just to run.
“I really didn’t know if I could finish,” Buck said. “But I knew my teammates were counting on me.”
She finished the race in 40th place, still second on her team to Emma Manchess.
“It was a stress fracture,” Buck said. “We think it might have been overuse. I had to put the foot in an air cast boot for several weeks. Then I had to wear a simpler shoe to keep the foot protected.”
During that time she had to watch her teammates run, and that was one of the hardest things about her recovery. Just in the past couple of weeks she has been able to get out and run again.
“It was great,” said Buck. “It was so awesome. I love running. A lot of people think running is a solitary sport. But this year I learned that it is truly a team sport. We became like a family on this team. Every girl depended on the others to push them to run faster. They made me run faster than I thought I could.”
PH coach Melissa Hagerman didn’t doubt her talent.
“She came in timid,” said Hagerman of Buck. “She is very quiet but very competitive. I think she had to convince herself that she could do it. With her work ethic, I would expect her to get to state, if not next year then her junior or senior years.”
The Arabians were the dominant team in this year’s cross country season.
More than half of the runners on the All-THB Girls Cross Country Team are from the PH team.
ALL-THB GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY TEAM
Alex Buck, Pendleton Hts.
Emma Manchess, Pendleton Hts.
Chelsea Blackwell, Pendleton Hts.
Anna Dudley, Pendleton Hts.
Sierra Ratzlaff, Lapel
Michaela McCurdy, Liberty Christian
Maddi Hinton, Pendleton Hts.
Monica Dudley, Pendleton Hts.
Lilly Ratzlaff, Lapel
Teresa Dudley, Pendleton Hts.