Too often I get caught up in who scores the most touchdowns, tallies the most goals and wins all the races.
It’s my job, of course, to report that stuff. But I constantly have to remind myself to remove the blinders and look for unexpected stories about student-athletes who do incredible things yet receive little (if any) attention.
Take Marissa Schafer, for example. A senior at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Schafer has competed in cross country and track throughout her prep career. In April she was seriously injured in a car accident.
According to Marysville-Pilchuck cross country coach Randall Edens, Schafer broke her femur and pelvis when another driver crossed into her lane and collided head-on with her car. Initially there was concern Schafer might not survive, Edens said.
But Schafer recovered. Determined to run competitively again, she worked hard to get back in shape and returned near the end of cross country season, participating in the junior varsity race Oct. 25 at the Wesco North championships.
“It’s a pretty cool story for her to want to battle back,” said Edens.
Schafer also ran in the Class 4A District 1 championships Nov. 1 in Langley. She finished the 3.1-mile course in 23 minutes, 27.9 seconds and placed 72nd. It wasn’t nearly enough for her to qualify for the state meet, which she accomplished three times as a member of M-P’s teams from 2005 to 2007.
But going to state isn’t really what mattered. Running for M-P again, about six months after the car accident, was an achievement that required determination and courage.
“Marissa has a tremendous amount of commitment and affection for our program,” Edens said. “Cross country is probably her first love.”
Schafer’s final prep cross country season didn’t turn out how she once imagined. But she isn’t done yet. This spring Schafer plans to run for M-P’s track team.
“She’s trying to look at it as more of a beginning than an end,” said Edens, who called Schafer “a great kid and just a great ambassador for our program.”