Training for her track season during the 2012 summer at Duniway Park in west Portland, senior Melany Crocker had a training injury that no one would ever suspect.
On Aug. 15, a Sweetgum tree branch weighing 600 pounds struck the Northwest Conference runner-up during the 100-meter, breaking her pelvis in three places and two bones in her arm. Crocker was taken to Oregon Health and Science University, where she underwent surgery for her injury.
“I was really frustrated,” Crocker said. “I had put so much time and hard work in to be where I was running and fitness wise, and after the accident, I thought running wasn’t going to pan out. It was just mentally tough.”
After the injury, Crocker went through two months of physical therapy for her injuries.
“I was all for rehab. I knew that was what was going to get me back into running quicker,” Crocker said.
First focusing on her arm and hand, and then focusing on her lower body, Crocker and the therapist were able to gain mobility and strength in the injured areas.
“It was extremely frustrating at times, but I had some great physical therapists who made going [to physical therapy] fun,” Crocker said.
After her tremendous setback, Crocker is back.
The Wildcats’ top returning sprinter owns the third-fastest time in program history in the 100-meter and the fourth fastest time in the 200-meter. She was also a member of the 4×100 meter relay team that currently holds the school record.
Crocker began her final outdoor season at the Erik Anderson Icebreaker at Maxwell Stadium. Crocker was a member of the 4×100 meter relay team and the 4×400 meter relay team. The 4×100 team finished fourth at the meet, while the 4×400 team finished fifth.
Crocker’s quest to win the Northwest Conference crown in the 100-meter and 200-meter continued this weekend at the Rich Allen Invitational at George Fox University on March 9.
Crocker swept the two individual sprinting events, posting times of 12.94 seconds in the 100-meter and 27.11 seconds in the 200-meter. Participating in the two relays, 4×100 team took first and the 4×400 team took second.
“I really want to make this my best season yet, so I am looking forward to besting my previous records and for the conference meet. One of my goals is to win the 100-meter and 200-meter, and hopefully, break the school record in the 100-meter, Crocker said.
“I also think that our 4X100 team has a lot of potential to break the current record.”
Crocker and the Wildcats will compete at Pacific University in the Pacific Multi-Event on March 14 and 15 before returning home for the Wildcat Open on March 16.
Chris Haddeland can be reached at