Sports Editor’s Playbook, Thursday, May 12

Patrick Newell

* Athletes will get get injured at some point in their playing careers. For some it might be a sprain or a bad bruise, for others it could be a broken bone or some sort of torn ligament. How an athlete reacts and rehabilitates from an injury says a lot about that person. Tomorrow’s athlete of the week, Caitlin Willis of Greene, suffered one of the most severe injuries one can incur. She had a complete tear of her ACL during the fall soccer, and required complete reconstructive surgery of injured knee. A injury of that sort to a high school athlete usually leaves no hope of competing any any point in the school year. Even though Willis’ occurred over six months, Greene varsity softball coach, Rick Smith, was planning to not have Willis for the spring season. Willis surprised Smith – and her own doctors – with her aggressive rehabilitation. She was in playing shape right off the bat, and Smith said he has seen Willis compensate at all for knee, one that is protected by a brace. “She runs the bases aggressively, and there is no hesitancy at all,” Smith. “I think, because of what happened to her, she is taking advantage of the moments that she has.”

*Perhaps you saw our Norwich Sports Hall of Fame profile on the late Kurt Beyer. It can easily be argued that Beyer is the godfather of modern Norwich sports. He took the football teams to a high level much of his career, and his standard is one all future coaches for the Tornado have aspired to match. This coming Thursday we move into the more modern era of Norwich athletes as we present Jason Morris, a 1992 Norwich grad. Morris had one of the greatest single seasons of any Norwich athlete. He set the single season rushing record, was a co-captain on a 16-win basketball team that laid the foundation for Norwich’s hoops success over the past 20 years, and he completed his athletics career winning a second straight Section IV title in the 100-meter dash. Not to mention, he set a school record in that event.

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