Sophomore Scott recovers from high school ACL injury to succeed at GV

Pete Barrows

Nothing in life is promised, not even in sports – a lesson which sophomore sprinter Carly Scott had to learn the hard way. Scott’s athletic career at Grand Valley State University nearly ended before it even began.

A track and field scholarship offer already assured her at GVSU, Scott, a dual sport athlete, didn’t think twice about enlisting for her senior season of basketball at Schoolcraft High School. A three-time all-state athlete in track and field, Scott had already set school records in the 200-meter (26.1 seconds) and 100-meter (11.9) dashes and had helped the Eagles to three regional championships during her stay. With one more track and season ahead of her, Scott figured to be in perfect position to both conclude her high school term and enter her college career on high notes. Her knee had other ideas.

“Her senior year of high school, she tore her ACL playing basketball,” said Keith Roberts, sprint, hurdles and relay coach. “A lot of people thought she would have to redshirt and potentially it would alter what she does in her career.”

Scott, with only one leg to stand on, stood at a threshold between careers and life stages. A devastating blow, an ACL tear is not an injury that can be taken mildly – some less fortunate athletes never play again.

“It was very hard when I first found out because I didn’t know how that would affect me coming here (to GVSU) of course because running my senior year, I didn’t have that,” Scott said. “I was really nervous about that, but coach Tesa (Sibley), coach Keith (Roberts) were really cool about it. They were like, ‘we still want you to come.’”

All freshmen have to concern themselves with making the transition to a new school. For most, college is the first time away from home and many struggle the first few months to find their way. Scott was no exception and had to accommodate a full-blown rehab as she went along.

“I had to work really hard, a lot of rehab. I was pretty much starting over once I got here,” Scott said. “I had surgery in February and I came here like the very next, like six weeks later.”

Taking it all in stride, Scott, who had earned the support of her coaches, was still an unknown quantity post-injury on the track. When the time finally came, Scott made sure to take full advantage of an opportunity that many young athletes take for granted.

“She came in as a freshman last year and popped off the 4X100, which is one of the most demanding legs – around the turn, popping out of the blocks,” Roberts said. “She was the most consistent in that.”

The women’s sprint team is one of the deepest on GVSU’s track and field program, particularly in the indoor 60-meter dash, with athletes like sophomores Brittney Bannister, Michaela Lewis and senior Kayla Addison all capable of running sub 7.9 seconds. In a sport where injuries are commonplace, having dependable depth can be a distinct advantage.

“When you look at our team, we have somewhere around six girls in the top 13 in the conference,” Roberts said.

Scott, now back in full form, has held her own in the rotation and narrowly missed making the cut to the national meet this past indoor season. With the upcoming outdoor season set to begin here in Allendale Mar. 30 with a dual meet against rival Saginaw Valley State University, Scott is primed to continue her progress.

“I just feel like from the standpoint of where she’s come from and how hard she works – she’s only a sophomore- she can be as good as she wants to be,” Roberts said.
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