When he crossed the finish line of the 60-meter dash last weekend in Brookings, South Dakota, Jack Machometa’s body was finished.
The pain in his right knee was “excruciating,” and it swelled rapidly.
“My knee was three times the size of the other one,” Machometa, a McHenry West graduate, said. “My teammates had to carry me off.”
Despite three weeks of inactivity because of a broken kneecap, Machometa finished 12th in the indoor 60 as he and his Indiana Tech teammates celebrated their fifth NAIA track and field title in the past six years.
“I didn’t want to [miss] nationals because I was having a great year,” Machometa said of his 6.89-second time in a field of 36 runners. “I was really shocked and happy with the time I ran.”
On Feb. 8 at the Grand Valley State University Big Meet in Michigan, Machometa posted a career-best 6.84 time in the 60, which ranked seventh best in the NAIA.
Later in the day while running the 200, he felt a pop in his knee.
X-rays showed a crack in the kneecap, which was just another hurdle for Machometa.
“I’ve really been battling through my entire career,” he said. “I’ve had 10 hamstring strains. I’ve wanted to quit multiple times.”
What kept Machometa, a redshirt junior, going was his potential. As a sophomore, he ran a 10.50 in the 100 outdoors, a career-best time that narrowly missed NAIA qualification.
“This year was one of my healthiest years, actually,” he said.
After the knee injury, Machometa spent a week in a brace that immobilized the knee, then did only pool workouts leading up to nationals.
“I was so doubtful,” he said. “I just kept telling myself, ‘I can do this.”
Running the 6.89 with the injury was especially satisfying and has Machometa thinking big for the spring outdoor season.
“I’ve never run that fast before when I was healthy,” he said with a laugh.
Machometa took the past week off, will rehab for a week, then will have his injury re-evaluated before the outdoor season.
“I know I can do big things,” said Machometa, who would like to run a 10.2 100. “Maybe I’ll take down a school record or go for that national title.”
If the injury heals well, he can chase those goals. But surgery also could be a possibility. When the injury first happened, however, Machometa’s doctor said he would miss six to eight weeks.
“I kind of proved him wrong,” he said.
Swiper Shields: Huntley grad Jessica Shields ranks third in the nation this season in NCAA Division I in stolen bases for Loyola’s softball team.
Shields, a junior outfielder, is 20 for 22 on steals while helping the team to a 14-4 start.
Along with leading the Missouri Valley Conference in stolen bases, she also ranks third in runs (18), fifth in batting average (.426) and hits (23) and seventh in on-base percentage (.516).
Sharpshooter Pischke: Averaging 47.2 percent from behind the 3-point line this season earned Marian Central grad Adam Pischke second-team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference honors in men’s basketball.
Pischke, a junior guard for the Flyers (24-4), is averaging a career-high 11.2 points a game and ranks fourth in the conference in 3-point percentage. His 50 made 3s is almost double his career-high total from a year ago.
Pischke and his team are on a 12-game winning streak and play in the GLVC tournament this weekend.
CCIW star Wilson: Augustana College’s Carly Wilson (Johnsburg) was recognized Tuesday as the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Hitter of the Week in softball.
A senior who has played seven different defensive positions for the D-III Vikings, Wilson batted .467 on the team’s spring trip to Florida, helping the Vikings to an 8-2 record. She leads the Vikings in eight offensive categories, including RBIs (nine), hits (14) and slugging percentage (.767).
During the spring trip, Wilson had six multihit games.
Manssen shines for MSOE: McHenry West grad Amanda Manssen, a junior softball player at D-III Milwaukee School of Engineering, was named the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Position Player of the Week on Tuesday.
Manssen, who starts at first base, batted .583 during the team’s 10-game Florida spring trip, during which the Raiders went 6-4. She compiled four doubles, six runs and 14 RBIs.
She had a 4-for-4 game against Cabrini, along with a pair of three-hit games on the trip.
Benoit at her best: Emma Benoit (Hampshire) earned All-GLVC third-team honors this week after posting eight double-doubles this season and career-best totals in scoring (13 points a game) and rebounding (7.2 a game) for the D-II University of Indianapolis women’s basketball team.
Benoit, a junior forward, ranked fourth in the conference in blocked shots (45), while finishing fifth in rebound average and 11th in scoring for the Hounds (11-17).
Indy won three of its last five games, thanks in part to freshman guard Katie Sowa (Cary-Grove) and freshman forward Liz Alsot (McHenry West), who both played in every game this season. Sowa averaged 7.6 points and was second on the team with 57 three-pointers.
Alsot had averages of 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds.
• Barry Bottino writes a weekly column about local college athletes for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at email@example.com and follow @BarryOnCampus on Twitter.