A freak accident left standout Great Bend High School track and field distance runner Rubi Torres in pain last week, prior to last Friday’s Class 5A regional track and field meet at Friends University in Wichita.
Qualifying for the second straight year in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs almost seemed to be a longshot for Torres as she was hampered with a right-knee injury.
“It happened at practice,” said Torres, a three-time Western Athletic Conference champion in cross country. “They were mowing the lawn (on the GBHS practice field), getting ready for graduation and rock shot out from the lawn mower and hit me in the knee.
“It was two days before regionals, and I went to the doctor and they took x-rays. I had a lot of fluid built up on my knee, it was big, really swollen and it hurt. So I had to run while I was on Lortabs at the regional meet, so that’s why I got fourth, I think.”
Torres had fourth-place finishes in both the 1,600- (5:28.74) and 3,200 (11:52.59) to qualify for this weekend’s state meet at Cessna Stadium on the Wichita State University campus.
“I was just trying to qualify for state,” Torres said. “That’s what my goal was.”
During Tuesday’s light workout at Memorial Stadium, Torres seemed more fluent in her workout than last Friday’s race.
“At the state meet, I’m going to go out there and compete,” Torres said. “My knee feels a lot better and it’s a lot healthier. I’m just trying to get on the podium.
“I got up there last year, and I really want to get up there again to end my running career. I really want to get in the top 3. I think that would be amazing.”
As a junior, she placed sixth in the 1,600 and seventh in the 3,200 at the state meet.