By Dan Guttenplan
---- — BYFIELD -- A high-jumper’s last jump is rarely a positive memory as competitions are typically completed when each of the competitors fails.
For Triton junior Kerstin Darsney, her last jump is a particularly painful memory. In an indoor meet against Hamilton-Wenham in January, Darsney sailed over the high jump bar before landing awkwardly on her left shoulder. She dislocated the shoulder, requiring an immediate trip to the hospital.
“I landed with my arm out funny, and it was a traumatic fall that caused my shoulder to come out of place,” Darsney said. “I was done for the season, and I had to get surgery to reattach my ligament.”
Darsney was the class of the Cape Ann League to that point, and the league coaches recognized her for her early-season dominance at the conclusion of the season. Despite missing the final month of the season and the Cape Ann League Open, Darsney was named CAL Division 1 Athlete of the Year.
Coming off a CAL title in the high jump last spring as a sophomore, Darsney imagined this winter would be the season in which she thrust herself onto the radar of college coaches. Instead, her surgery in late February will cause her to be restricted from all contact sports -- including the high jump -- for six months.
“I definitely was hoping to be able to win a CAL championship in the high jump,” Darsney said. “It was definitely disappointing.”
Rather than stew about her misfortune, Darsney got to work. She returned to Triton track practice during the winter season and provided support for teammates. By the first outdoor practice last week, she was training for new events like the 400, shot put and discus.
“In a couple of weeks, I’m hoping to get back to it,” Darsney said. “Now, I’m trying to puck up the throwing events. I can still throw with my right arm, so there’s no reason I can’t compete in those events.”
Triton coach Joe Colbert said Darsney’s example, as a former CAL champion, has sparked the rest of his outdoor team this spring.
“Her work ethic as she comes back has been remarkable,” Colbert said. “As of now, she will miss the first few meets of the spring, but she should be back by early May. She’s working out now and waiting for medical clearance.”
Colbert does not believe Darsney’s injury will prevent her from receiving attention from college coaches.
“As she makes her way back, her attitude and work ethic have been incredible,” Colbert said. “She’s been chosen team captain and is working out in practice every day. Colleges have already been looking at her, and she’s determined to come back for the second half of the season.”