Editor’s Note: For 20 days in April, the Deseret News will profile 20 elite high school athletes from the 2020 graduating class and how they’re coping with the premature end of senior life on and off the field.
AMERICAN FORK — When Madeline Edwards tore her ACL playing rec league football last September, the senior athlete’s mind quickly shifted to the track — and specifically what it might’ve cost her.
Edwards was expected to be one of the top hurdles and sprinters in 6A this spring season for American Fork, but in a blink all those hopes and aspirations took a serious hit.
Instead dwelling on the “what ifs” though, Edwards channeled her focus on rehab. Whether it was to be ready for her senior season at American Fork or her freshman season on Utah State’s track team, Edwards committed to get back on the track.
“I’ve just tried to grind it out there. The motivation that I need to be back 100 percent for college has been a big factor too,” said Edwards.
That commitment and dedication paid off back on March 13, as just six months after tearing her ACL Edwards was back on the track competing at the Snow Canyon Invitational.
It was by no means a perfect meet. Edwards wasn’t medically cleared to run in her favorite events yet, the hurdles, and she didn’t even qualify for the 100-meter finals as she posted the 10th fastest time, but none of that mattered.
All those grueling hours of hard work had paid off, which meant despite the ACL injury she’d still be able to enjoy her senior track season. The spread of COVID-19 around the world changed all that, as the high school sports season was officially canceled on April 14.
That 13.50 that Edwards ran in the 100 meters at Snow Canyon High School ended up being her lone senior athletic achievement.
Though saddened by that reality, Edwards tries to remain positive.
“I keep hoping for a graduation and some kind of senior thing, but we just have to ride it out. I’m glad that I had the fun experiences that I did for the rest of high school and for the beginning of my senior year. I just have to remember that I did what I did when I could,” said Edwards.
Since that race at Snow Canyon, Edwards has continued to try and work hard on the off chance that high school sports resumed. Her coach would post weekly works on the team blog, and she’d head over to American Fork’s opened track most days to get in her workout.
She’d even occasionally head over to Pleasant Grove’s track and use the old hurdles that are always out and available.
Often times she’d bump into teammates at the track, and seeing familiar faces always made the workouts that much more enjoyable.
Even though the season was officially canceled on Tuesday, Edwards will no doubt maintain the same work ethic that got her ready for the high school season because she has a college season to prepare for.
At Utah State, the hurdles will be her specialty. As a junior last season Edwards posted the fifth best time in the state in the 100 hurdles (15.04) and the second-best time in the 300 hurdles (43.28).
She also recorded top eight times in the 100 and 200 meters, but she much prefers jumping.
“Hurdles are definitely my favorite. For me it’s something else to think about why you’re running, especially on the 300 hurdles. It’s about the same exertion as the 400 meters but it breaks it up with each hurdle, there’s more to set you apart than the person next to you than just speed,” said Edwards.
Unfortunately, instead of balancing school and track over the final two months of her high school career in pursuit of state titles, the focus is now just on school.
Unlike many senior schedules, her last few months isn’t a breeze as she still has AP Calculus and AP Government to try and concentrate on.