MARYSVILLE — Coming back from a serious knee injury can be one of the most difficult things an athlete ever has to do. Marysville Pilchuck junior sprinter Amanda Klep has done it — four times.
Klep has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in each knee twice, yet she is still one of the fastest runners on the Tomahawks track team.
Individually, Klep runs the 100 meters, in which she holds the school record, and the 200 meters. She also is a key member of the Tomahawks’ relay teams, predominantly running the 4×100 and 4×400. She also runs the 4×200 on occasion.
Klep and her teammates compete today at the 11th annual Tomahawks Track and Field Classic. The yearly invitational features 12 different teams from around Washington State.
Marysville Pilchuck coach Randy Davis praised Klep for her willingness in every meet to do whatever she can to help the team.
“She means everything to this track team,” Davis said. “She runs so many events. She is willing to do so much. If I say, ‘you are going to be a relay girl this week.’ Then she runs all the relays. She is kind of the cornerstone of a lot of good sprinters on our team. She kind of leads the pack, but she also has this great team support around her that helps make her better, too.”
Klep’s history of injuries coupled with her competitiveness and willingness to do almost any event has forced Davis to keep a watchful eye on her to make sure she isn’t overdoing herself and risking re-injury.
“The main thing I worry about with Amanda is that she does too much,” Davis said. “That’s her only drawback … she does too much sometimes because she just loves to do stuff and just loves to compete. She is just a tough little competitor and that is what makes her so good.”
Klep’s injuries started in eighth grade while playing soccer. First, she tore the ACL in her left knee. After rehabilitating the injury, she tore her right ACL in her first game back — and that turned out to only be the beginning.
She later tore her right ACL again while getting up from a chair. After that injury, it was discovered that the ligament had not been put in the right place from her first surgery.
At the end of last season, Klep’s left ACL tore again while she was crossing the finish line in a race just before the state track meet.
Despite all the injuries, Klep always has fought her way back to compete in both track and soccer.
“It’s been hard, but I have all my friends and family just supporting me and telling me not to give up,” she said. “Knowing that my friends are there for me and my family and just everyone, not even people I know. They just come up to me and tell me I should just keep going. It was hard. Right when I hear it, it just kills me and I know right away what happened. But then it’s just like, it’s happened so now I have to go back and do it again.”
That same determination has helped Klep find success on the track. When she sees a challenge, she attacks it head on.
“When I see someone in front of me, I have to get them,” Klep said. “My determination is to get in front of them.”
With her history of injuries, Klep has had to learn to know her body and heed the warnings it gives.
“There are sometimes when I’m running and I can feel it wanting to happen again, but then again I know when to hold back,” she said. “I think realizing what I’ve already been through and what can take me down … I’ve set myself to the experience of knowing what not to do.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.