A minor setback

Brad Frank and Brad Frank

Perhaps the hardest part about setbacks is knowing when they’re going to end.

For junior Barbara Powers, this season appears to be the time when she will overcome a string of setbacks that plagued her career. She is currently recovering from her second collegiate hamstring injury and is hoping to recover in time for the Mid-American Conference championship meet.

In 2007, Powers made an instant impact for BG. In her first collegiate meet she placed fourth overall in a dual meet with Toledo.

But Powers said her sophomore season was frustrating. She had bronchitis for awhile and then pulled her hamstring two weeks before the MAC championships, finishing last on the team in 83rd.

This season, with a bit more experience and another summer of training, Powers was set to have another impactful season for BG. But before the season she pulled her hamstring again.

She tried to run through the injury for a couple more days until she realized it was going to require her to sit out for a while, only to be setback again after she thought she had recovered.

As a result she didn’t run in BG’s first two races of the season, but she ran in the Iona Meet of Champions after completing one workout before it. Nonetheless, she said her hamstring felt good during the race, finishing 87th overall out of 186 runners in her first meet of 2009.

‘It was nice just to get back out there and compete,’ she said. ‘I wasn’t happy with how I ran, but I wasn’t discouraged because I was just trying to get out there and see how it was to race again.’

Two weeks later, Powers ran in the open race at the All-Ohio Championships in Delaware, Ohio.

She placed fourth and was the first Falcon to finish. She had no issue with her hamstring and said she was in about the best shape she could possibly be at that point.

BG hosts the Falcon Invite Saturday. The meet is her last chance to race at full strength during competition before the MAC Championships on Oct. 31. Teams at the Falcon Invite are allowed to race as many runners as they want, as opposed to other meets where the number of runners is limited.

‘I’m just looking forward to getting back to running with all the girls,’ Powers said.

This season the team has made it a goal to finish higher than last year because it was disappointed with a last-place finish. The team thought a top-three finish was well within its reach.

Powers notes that there are a lot of good teams in the conference this season and that it will take the best effort from everyone on the team to place higher than last year. And, obviously, she wants to be able to contribute to the team’s success in any way she can.

‘We have a pretty good team this year,’ she said. ‘Our biggest strength as a team is that we all [finish] at relatively the same time. We have a nice pack [near the front of the field].’

Despite all of the setbacks the past two seasons, Powers has an opportunity in the final three meets to reach her own personal goal. She wants to complete a race she can be happy with, knowing that she gave 100 percent, and to basically have no regrets after the race ends.

Coach Cami Wells said if anyone on the team can do that, it would be Powers.

‘Barbara is a very positive, hard working person and a great teammate,’ Wells said. ‘Through all her illnesses and injuries, every time she worked her way back and continued to stay positive. It shows her toughness.’

At this point in the season Wells said Powers is back to where she expected her to be. Wells expects her to be a top-five runner for BG heading into the last three meets of the season.

Ready to compete alongside her teammates at full health Saturday, Powers said she really got to know her teammates while spending so much time with them on long runs now that she is healthy.

‘This season has been the most fun,’ she said. ‘We’ve spent a lot of time together even though I haven’t run much.’

Powers and her teammates will compete at 10:45 a.m. Saturday in Bowling Green at the Falcon Invite held at Forrest Creason Golf Course.