Wheeling Park product Errin Baynes - one of the Ohio Valley's most decorated high jumpers - had just started training and preparations for his freshman track season at Southern California last September.
However, he just didn't feel right because of continual pain in his hips.
Unable to pinpoint exactly what was causing it, Baynes spent countless hours with the Trojans' training staff.
After countless rounds of treatment and rehab, the pain was still there. It was finally diagnosed as a sports hernia, which was causing pain in his lower abs and groin.
"The injury was very debilitating and I knew I wouldn't be able to compete at a high level until I was healed," Baynes said during an interview late last week. "Many things can cause hernia symptoms, so there's no saying exactly what caused it."
Baynes was formally shut down for the season and has taken a redshirt season. He's underwent the first of two hip surgeries last week and is now facing approximately a seven-month rehab and recovery process.
"The doctors believe that the two surgeries will alleviate the pain and it should also strengthen my hips and core," Baynes said. "I have never had a strong foundation, so that is what I hope to attain through this process."
Baynes competed once for the Trojans this season in the high jump at their first outdoor meet of the season.
"I just gave it a shot despite not being healthy," Baynes said. "I knew I would still be able to redshirt if it didn't work out. Still, it's been a hard pill to swallow because I was mentally ready and very eager to begin college track, but my body wasn't ready."
Baynes won't be coming back to Wheeling much this summer. USC's academic year comes to a close in a couple of weeks, but Baynes will remain in southern California to continue the rehab process with the USC training staff.
"After the surgeries and rehab, my body should be the most stable and strong it's ever been," Baynes confessed. "I have all summer, fall and winter to prepare for next season and, by then, I will be more than ready. Having an extra year will be good for academics and athletics."
To reach his goals of getting back better than ever, the words "patience and perseverance" have become a regular part of Baynes' vocabulary.
"I plan on going above and beyond what is expected," Baynes admitted. "I am hungry."
Baynes missed much of his senior season at Park last spring due to a knee injury, but got back in the lineup in time to sweep the high and long jumps at the West Virginia State Track Meet.
"Anytime you're away from your sport, it's a frustrating thing to deal with," Baynes said. "But, ou have to remain optimistic and know that it will work out eventually. I just have to stay positive and keep working hard. I believe God has a plan for me and I think everything is happening just as planned."
Baynes' injury hasn't affected him in the classroom. He carried well over a 3.0 grade point in the fall semester. He's yet to declare a major.
On Friday, the Ohio High School Athletic Association released the enrollment figures that it will use in determining the divisions for the sports for the next two years. From the looks of the numbers, a handful of schools will be on the move in terms of their division in several sports.
However, the schools have until early May to challenge or correct the numbers, which are submitted by the schools to the Ohio Department of Education last October.
St. Clairsville experienced a huge growth. At the count in 2010, the Red Devils had 216 boys. On the latest numbers, St. C. has 286 boys. For a point of reference, the Red Devils have 36 more boys than Steubenville.
Barnesville also had a large enrollment increase. During the 2010 count, there were 120 boys in the school and the OHSAA now shows 193 boys.
The majority of the other area schools remained close to their previous numbers.
Both schools also experienced large growth in enrollment for girls as well.
It's going to be interesting when the divisional cuts are announced for fall sports because it's kind of hard to gauge at this point, especially in football since the OHSAA is expanding to seven divisions.
CAMBRIDGE HIGH School is currently accepting applications for its boys' basketball head coaching position. We're working to find out exactly why Mike Andrews, who led the Bobcats to a successful season, wasn't renewed by the Cambridge Board of Education.
A WEEK from today, the brackets for the baseball and softball sectionals will be set. We'll take a closer look at the tournament assignments in next Sunday's paper, but as a teaser, one of the eight softball teams assigned to the St. Clairsville sectional/district is headed for the regional, which is a change from last season.
Staskey can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org