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Mutz-McCay back and better than ever for Beaver track

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton senior Molly Mutz-McCay won the 100-meter dash on Wednesday, just 10 months after tearing her ACL during a powder puff football game.

When a competitor’s athletic mortality is nearly taken from them, every subsequent victory should be celebrated to the fullest.

As Beaverton’s Molly Mutz-McCay crossed the tape first in the 100-meter dash at the Beavers’ away meet against Aloha, the senior — wearing a small, protective black sleeve on her left knee — slightly pumped her fist and smiled as teammates embraced her around the finish line.

It was a win, yes, but to the senior who has gone through the gauntlet both physically and emotionally just to get back to the track, it meant so much more.

Playing powder puff football against a group of gung-ho seniors last June, Mutz-McCay — a junior at the time — took a handoff into the open field, and was shoved to the ground by a pair of callous senior opponents who had enough of the junior running circles around them on the gridiron.

“All the upperclassmen girls were getting mad because I was faster than them,” said Mutz-McCay with a smile.

The pain shooting up and down her right leg, the result of the two seniors sandwiching the diminutive Mutz-McCay, didn’t go away. Not as her teammates helped her off the field, not as she got in the car to drive home, and not even the next day at school. An ensuing trip to the doctor confirmed her biggest fear, a torn ACL, meaning months of recovery, hours of rehabilitation, and worse, no sports.

In August, Mutz-McCay had surgery to repair the damaged ligament, and with an estimated rehab time of at least a year, the senior’s athletic career was officially in jeopardy.

An acclaimed cheerleader on the Beaver pep squads who has a shot at cheering on the collegiate level, Mutz-McCay was forced to the sidelines during the fall and winter seasons, unable to compete in the sport she truly loves. Instead of stunting and flying, the senior was forced into grueling physical therapy every single day for four months.

It was enough to make even the toughest-minded, iron-clad competitor throw in the towel. Not Mutz-McCay. She wanted to run, jump, be healthy and be active, not move her knee two inches that way, and another four inches the other way for progress.

The restoring of the knee was brutal and laborious at times, yet Mutz-McCay said it transformed her into something she didn’t think she was. It made her stringent and dedicated. Her attitude in the athletic medical center was devoted to getting back on the oval, on running at full strength without inhibition.

“It made me work even harder, honestly,” said Mutz-McCay. “I worked twice as hard as I did last year because I wanted it so bad. I was out for so long that it pushes you and gives you so much determination. Getting back out here is really pushing me to my limit and really enjoyable.

“(The surgeries) were extremely hard, and so was not being active because I’m such an active person,” continued Mutz-McCay. “The day-to-day of feeling pain, but working harder has changed who I am. It turned me into a hard worker, so I appreciate what I have.”

Since February, Mutz-McCay has been lifting weights and trying to get her strength back to what it once was. Her goal to go out with a state championship berth in the 100 and, as the anchor leg, hopefully help the Beavers’ loaded 4x100 relay get on top of Metro.

“I’m really trying to work hard right now because it’s my last season and senior year,” said Mutz-McCay. “I’m just trying to do my best and get my PR. I feel a lot better, and I just want to push myself even further so I can get where I was last year. I have to work even harder than I did before, and honestly just have that drive and mindset that I want to be better and healthy again. My knee isn’t going to hold me back, so that’s really important to me.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton's Lexus Miller-Moylan cruised to victories in the 200 and 400 against Aloha on Wednesday.

Still sore from a handful of hard workouts during the week, Lexus Miller-Moylan was able to find the fire in the 200-meter dash, and hold off freshman teammate Cassandra Harrigan for the win.

“I just came in with the thought of there’s no other place I’m going to get but first,” said Miller-Moylan. “I was going to do whatever I possibly could to get it. I came out a little slow, but I saw someone in front of me, so I kicked it into high gear and got that first place.”

Miller-Moylan observed Harrigan and Aloha’s Demetria Andrews in the lead at the curve, but that only fueled the junior’s flame even more.

“That gives the drive of ‘You gotta go get her. You have to catch her. You have to get in front of her’,” said Miller-Moylan. “That’s what I think throughout my whole race, and getting the win is just awesome. It’s the best feeling ever.”

Miller-Moylan is also a standout in the 400, with the sixth-best time in Metro, but said the 200 is her favorite because it boils down to a battle of guts and will.

“You pretty much give it all you got the whole way,” said Miller-Moylan. “It’s basically all-out and whoever’s the best, is the best and whoever is the strongest, wins. But, both are great races and it’s just a privilege to be blessed to do both of them.”

As a freshman, Miller-Moylan won Metro’s 400-meter dash with a 58.82, and then Miller-Moylan moved to La Grande as a sophomore where she won district titles in the 200 and 400, and helped the school’s relay teams place at state.

Miller-Moylan’s dad’s occupation was reassigned to Beaverton after a year in La Grande, bringing the athletic junior back home with even more gained confidence and a sense of empowerment.

“La Grande really opened my eyes to if you put in the effort, you’re going to see results,” said Miller-Moylan. “I want to take that here, even though there’s more competition and more amazing athletes. I just want that to drive me to be even better.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton's Erin Gregoire took first in the 800 against Aloha on Wednesday to help the Beavers take the team win.

Wanting to get away from the meetly monotony of running 3,000 meters, Beaverton’s Erin Gregoire vanished from the field early, and galloped to a 2:22 win in the 800.

Looking for a way to hone her speed, the Metro’s leader in the 3K had a 50-meter lead or so with 200 meters to go, and hightailed it down the homestretch with her patented kick that was formed and famed during cross country season.

“Honestly, I felt very dead,” said Gregoire with a laugh. “But, that was the only race I was doing. I knew I had to give it my all because I wouldn’t have to worry about anything the rest of the meet.”

It was Gregoire’s first 800 since her freshman year, and while the junior was a tad nervous beforehand, the mild temperatures made it easier to breathe and compete. The strategy of the quicker paced 800 was foreign to Gregoire, being that she’s a noted long distance runner.

But, lighting-fast teammate Allison Muller, a state finalist in the 800 last season, lent her long-limbed teammate a little advice prior to the gun.

“She just said ‘Run fast’,” laughed Gregoire. “I just tried to do my best.”

Gregoire has struggled with injuries the past two seasons, but so far she’s been able to maintain her health, and hopes to carry that through the rest of the season.

During the winter, Gregoire and her long distance teammates put down a good amount of miles for a strong cardio base, and to help avoid any nagging injuries that tend to pop up.

“I’m really excited for this season,” said Gregoire. “I’m hoping I can stay injury-free and stay on the track so I can compete at my best.”



Local Weather

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Beaverton

Fair

Humidity: 43%

Wind: 7 mph

  • 1 Sep 2014

    Sunny 79°F 56°F

  • 2 Sep 2014

    Partly Cloudy 76°F 52°F