BYFIELD — Kerstin Darsney will enter Sunday’s Mass. State Track Coaches Elite Invitational ranked as the state’s No. 2 high-jumper.
The Triton senior captain’s ranking in the high jump is all the more remarkable when considering she is one year removed from suffering a shoulder injury that nearly ended her high school career in the event.
Competing against Hamilton-Wenham in a dual meet last January, Darsney fell awkwardly on her arm, aggravating a pre-existing shoulder injury. She missed the remainder of the season, although her performance in December and early January was enough for Cape Ann League coaches to name her CAL Athlete of the Year, even though she missed the league championship.
Darsney returned to the track for the outdoor season eight weeks after suffering the injury. While she did not compete in her marquee event, the high jump, she did perform well enough in the hurdles to earn CAL Athlete of the Year again in the spring.
“She just kept coming to practice and going to the weight room,” Triton coach Joe Colbert said of Darsney’s rehab. “It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. She’s the hardest worker I’ve ever coached, and I’ve coached some special athletes.”
Although Darsney’s injury occurred at the worst possible time in terms of college recruiting — as most coaches use championship season results as a basis for scholarship offers — the then-junior received an offer from UMass Lowell, a program that switched to Division 1 this season.
“It’s definitely hard to miss out on junior year because that’s when people typically do the best times and heights,” Darsney said. “Colleges are looking for athletes, so it definitely did hurt a little bit. Some coaches followed up knowing I’d come back.”