Madi Wilson was looking forward to track season, and seeing how she would stacked up against the best athletes in Washington.

The Hermiston senior, who competes in both hurdle events and the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, tore her right Achilles tendon March 21 during the first meet of the spring.

She had won the 100 hurdle event, and the Bulldogs destroyed the field in the sprint relay. The injury came in the 300 hurdles, where she was leading until she went down near the end of the race.

“It just happened,” Wilson said. “I came off the second-to-last hurdle, and on my second step it tore.”

Wilson said an MRI showed a completely torn Achilles tendon. She had surgery March 28 and has been sporting a light blue cast the past couple of weeks.

“I am going to get the cast off Tuesday, and they will take out the stitches,” Wilson said. “I will get a walking boot, but I still won’t be able to put any weight on it. Then, I will start physical therapy.”

While there hasn’t been a lot of physical pain associated with the injury, Wilson said the mental aspect of the injury has been the worst part.

“It’s a mental hurdle I have to get over,” she said. “I can still support my team. I help with the hurdlers. I love coaching — it helps me reflect back on what I need to do. I know God has a plan for me throughout this.”

The one bright spot of the ordeal, is that her scholarship to run track at Eastern Washington University is not in jeopardy.

“I have been in contact with the coach and he is totally understanding,” Wilson said. “He’s very encouraging about my recovery.”

Wilson finished second in the 100 hurdles, and fifth in the 300 hurdles, at the Oregon 5A state track meet last year. The 4x100 relay teams also finished second, leading up to a promising season for the Bulldogs.

“The very first meet — that was hard to see that happen,” Hermiston coach Emilee Strot said. “She didn’t play basketball, and she put in the work every day to prepare. She was ready to do big things. Madi is hard to replace in all aspects. She was the heart of our team.”

The Bulldogs, who will participate in their first Pasco Invite on Saturday, also will be without senior sprinter Scout Reagan, who is nursing ankle and thigh injuries.

“We have some young kids who are ready to step up, but they are filling big shoes,” Strot said.

Strot said she will take 20 athletes to the Pasco Invite, led by javelin thrower Jazlyn Romero, who finished third at state last year, and junior sprinter Garrett Walchli, who will compete in four events (100, 200, 4x100 relay, 4x400 relay).

“I’m exited about them competing at the Pasco Invite — going up against the best of the best,” Strot said.

The Hermiston girls will field a 4x100 relay team, led by senior sprinter Elsa Torres. She is joined by sophomores MaKaylee Young, Kamryn Aldred and Jayden Ray.

Also competing for the boys will be senior Freddy Mendoza in the 800 and the 4x400 relay.

“It’s only his second year of track,” Strot said of Mendoza. “He’s already run a 2:02 this year.”

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