It’s been a long, difficult road, but Topeka High junior cross country standout Abby Wagemaker is finally feeling like herself again.
Last fall Wagemaker was in the midst of an outstanding season when two unfortunate events derailed not only her season but several facets of her life for the next several months.
“I had a stress fracture last year at (Centennial) League and then a week later I got a severe concussion from a car wreck, so I wasn’t able to do anything for like two months,” Wagemaker said. “That took a major toll on me because to go from running a lot to running nothing and doing nothing was really hard.”
Wagemaker said the concussion was harder to get over than the stress fracture.
“There were days I couldn’t even go to school and my grades were sinking and that was harder than, ‘Hey, I can’t run,’” Wagemaker said. “I couldn’t even go to church because the lights and sound were too much.”
Wagemaker eventually was able to start running again, participating in track for the Trojans, but by her own admission wasn’t close to 100 percent.
“When I started coming back to it I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can run still,’ because I was afraid of hurting myself again,” she said. “It’s more mental for me now than physical and I think the mental part is the hardest part of it all.”
Wagemaker, who posted multiple runner-up performances last season and was an All-City pick, said she is feeling much better now and is off to a solid start this season. Wagemaker opened the year with an eighth-place finish in the Manhattan Invitational and took third in last Saturday’s Joe Schrag Invitational at Felker Park.
“It’s mainly that I need to learn how to love running again and that’s what I’m doing,” Wagemaker said. “I’m going out and trying my hardest, but I’m not getting down on myself if I don’t win.”
Hayden will host a nine-hole tournament at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Shawnee County Club, with Seaman, Shawnee Heights, Topeka High, Topeka West and Washburn Rural also scheduled to compete.
The city tournament will be at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18, at Shawnee Country Club in conjunction with the Topeka West Invitational. All six city golf teams will participate. Washburn Rural is the defending team champion and Junior Blues senior Abby Glynn is the defending individual champ.
Topeka High and Topeka West will square off in a Centennial League game at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at Hummer Sports Park, while Shawnee Heights will be home at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday for a league game against Manhattan.
Washburn Rural will host Hayden in a Centennial League game at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, while Highland Park will host league foe Emporia (4 p.m.) and Topeka High will play Shawnee Heights at Hummer Sports Park (6:15 p.m.).
Topeka West will play Junction City at 5:45 p.m. Friday at Hummer.
Topeka High will host its invitational tournament beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Kossover Tennis Center. Seaman, Shawnee Heights and Topeka West are scheduled to compete.
The Hayden Invitational is on tap beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, with Shawnee Heights also in the field. The T-Birds are the defending champions, posting a 6-0 record in last year’s event. Shawnee Heights won the Class 5A state title last season while Hayden is the two-time defending 4A-II state champ.