Hurwitz’s injury healing just in time
Rick Brown should have known that Jake Hurwitz wouldn’t ease his way back into his frustrating track and field season. After all, he’s a sprinter and the reigning 100-meter zone champion.
Hurwitz was born to run, and the South Tahoe High junior sprinting sensation knows only one speed – all out.
So when Hurwitz resumed training from a pulled hamstring muscle last week, STHS coaches should have expected their track star to bolt right back into competition.
“He was chomping at the bit,” Brown said. “I told him to start out with 60-yard strideouts, and not too fast, and the next time I look over at him he’s doing accelerations. I was across the track and I started yelling, ‘No, no, no.’ “
After Brown figured he had convinced Hurwitz the importance of easing back into running, he returned to the other side of the South Tahoe Middle School track and resumed coaching. Moments later, he looked over in disbelief to see Hurwitz bounding over hurdles.
“I yelled out his name and it reverberated off the trees,” Brown said.
Following a month of annoying physical therapy, ultrasound and pool training, Hurwitz reassured his coach that the hamstring was fine.
“It looks like it’s not bothering him at all, and I trust him,” Brown said. “He knows how important this week is and what it means.”
Hurwitz is the key to the Vikings bringing home their first zone track and field championship. Without him, the Vikings have the athletes to make a good showing, but not a run at the championship. With a healthy Hurwitz, the Vikings are a threat to win as many as four or five events.
“Jake is a born competitor, that’s what he wants to do. When he can’t do it, it gnaws at him,” Brown said. “This is the first time in track that he’s been injured where he can’t compete, and he’s found that injury isn’t fun and he doesn’t want any part of it anymore.”
Consequently, Brown is puzzled on how to prepare Hurwitz for the biggest week of the season.
“Obviously he could use some starts coming out of the blocks before Friday, but at the same time we don’t want to pressure that. He also runs anchor on both relay teams that he needs to work on, so we want to try and get some rust off before Saturday.”
With additional “gradual” workouts ahead of Hurwitz this week, there’s no telling how many events Hurwitz can enter when the Division II championships open Friday afternoon in Fallon. Ideally, Brown can enter Hurwitz in four events: 100 meters, long jump and the 100- and 400-meter relays.
“We’ll see what happens on Friday at the trials and see whether to minimize the effect to his injury,” Brown said. “His chances of making it to state in the long jump are slim because it’s a technical event that he hasn’t had the opportunity to work on as much as we’d have liked him to in the past month.
“But that could change, because there’s always the chance that he could come out of the pool stronger than we think and end up surprising some people on Saturday.”
It’s funny how an athlete can make it through an entire football season while suffering only a slight groin pull, and then have his body break down in a noncontact sport.
Hurwitz’s frustration began on March 24 when he injured the hamstring while taking off for his final long jump at an invitational in Fallon. He tried to return three weeks later at the Carson Invitational, but pulled up with 40 meters left in a 100-meter race that he was leading.
“It’s hard going from doing everything in all four events every time to trying one and not being able to do anything else,” Hurwitz said. “It’s hard because I wanted to show what I can do. I thought I was going to pick up my times this year. “
His best time in the 100 is the 10.78 seconds he ran in Fallon, but his failure to complete a race since then has removed some of his competitive edge.
“Everybody is wondering who is going to win it,” Brown said. “There’s no clear-cut favorite because Jake hasn’t run it in a couple of weeks. A lot of people out there figure they have as much chance to win it as Jake does.”
Hence, Hurwitz isn’t taking it upon himself to bring the Vikings track notoriety in the next few weeks. He knows there is more to this team than himself.
“It’s not all the pressure on me; it’s a whole team effort,” he said. “If I don’t have any pressure, I can perform my best. I rely on my team, and we have some great athletes on it. I feel we can do as well if not better than some of the teams in our division and the whole league.”
But if you see Hurwitz running up Echo Summit or Kingsbury Grade sometime this week, could you kindly roll down your window and tell him to slow down?
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