Senior battles injury with hope of return to Sailor track
April 21, 2016
Steamboat Springs — Annie Martin is always there, even if you don't notice. She rarely misses a meet for the Steamboat Springs High School track and field team, even though she can’t compete. The senior is among the most dedicated athletes at practice, even if she can't train with her teammates.
Her hope is, that by season's end, she can stop being a cheerleader on the outskirts and be an active participant for the Sailors. But, as it is, a lingering injury sustained in a cheerleading accident earlier in the school year has provided a significant roadblock to Martin reaching her goal.
"I had this whole vision of my senior year," Martin said. "Like, 'I'm going to be cheer captain, I'm going to be Showcase director, everything is going to go flawlessly. I'm going to be the best at everything, and it's all going to go really great.' That didn't happen."
More than anything, Martin has identified as a cheerleader throughout high school. And with a promising final season on the varsity cheer team ahead of her, she tore the ligaments on the outside of her ankle — coupled with a small cartilage fracture — after a cheer stunt went awry. Not long after, she found herself in surgery, and suddenly, the plans she had for her senior year were pushed aside.
Months have since passed, and Martin has done her best to adapt to the new script; now, her recovery is finally approaching its completion.
"The peak of cheer season was when I was most injured, so I'd go to practice and just sit there," Martin said. "That kind of got to a point where it was harder for me to be at practice than to not be at practice, because it was hard to watch my team and not be able to do anything."
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Martin missed a lot due to her injury. She wasn't able to actively take part in the high school's annual Dance Showcase in January, for which she has long been a choreographer. The cheer team went to nationals in February, and more recently, she missed the bulk of the spring track season, with only a small handful of meets remaining before state in Lakewood.
Still, Martin is holding out hope for a grand finish.
"She asked the question, 'If I'm injured, should I still come out?' Of course, you should, because sometimes, being an athlete is rehabbing. Sometimes, it's taking a break. Sometimes, it's driving hard and going forward," Steamboat track coach Lisa Renee Tumminello said. "More than anything, to watch her at a 10-hour track meet on the sidelines helping her teammates and cheering them on, that's just humbling."
Martin only joined the track team last spring as a junior, but quickly became a successful sprinter and hurdler. Her father, Ben Martin, is one of the team's assistant coaches. Throughout her rehab, Tumminello created specialized training plans for Martin that often paralleled what the rest of the team was doing.
It's been difficult for Martin, certainly, but with continued support from her teammates and her own desire to battle back from injury, her senior season rewrite still has a chance at a happy ending.
"Track has been great for me, mentally and socially, because the team is so great. They've been super supportive,” Martin said. “Even if I just run a race — obviously, I'm not trying to PR and make it to state — but just being out there and racing would definitely be the end-all for me. That's my goal this season. Even if that doesn't happen, I know I've worked my hardest and pushed myself as hard as I can."
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