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Foot injury knocks aside Klamath runner Leary

Prep Notebook

As part of her training routine, Klamath Union High distance standout Katie Leary did yoga exercises several times per week.

On March 15, Leary was moving an ottoman in her living room to give herself more room to operate when the footstool slipped and fell on her foot.

Little did Leary know that the seemingly insignificant mishap would mark the end of her track season.

What was first thought to be a bad bruise was finally diagnosed as nerve damage. Leary's doctors have told her she can't resume running for at least another month ' well behind the district and state meets.

Talk about rotten luck, says Klamath Union distance coach Rob Coffman.

— Coffman says Leary, who dominated the Class 4A state cross country meet last fall and would have been one of the favorites in the 1,500 and 3,000 meters at the state track meet later this month, has been to several doctors, including a neurologist in Portland, in an effort to diagnose her injury.

At first they thought it was a stress fracture, and then possibly an infection, Coffman says.

When doctors finally determined it was nerve damage, they gave Leary injections in her back to relieve the pressure in her foot. For two weeks she couldn't even walk around school without a limp, Coffman says.

Even so, Leary thought she could recover in time for the Southern Oregon Conference district meet May 20 and 22 in Roseburg. She had been riding a stationary bike and doing rigorous workouts in the pool in an effort to keep in shape.

But by the end of the third week in April, Coffman says it became apparent that Leary wouldn't be ready.

Katie's one of the most motivated and driven kids I've coached, and certainly one of the most talented, says Coffman, noting that Leary has earned a track scholarship to the University of Oregon. She's got a bright future in running, but things like this break your heart.

THE NORTH MEDFORD High football staff took a big hit when former head coach John Beck took most of the assistant coaches with him to Crater.

But Rod Rumrey, the Black Tornado's new head coach, has nearly completed his new staff.

Dave Jacobs, who coached with Rumrey for part of his first stint at North Medford, becomes the defensive coordinator. Brent Barry, who was a co-finalist for the head job when Beck was hired in 2001, becomes the offensive coordinator.

Jacobs' son, Tim, who was the head JV coach at Crater last season, becomes the defensive line coach. Jared Gail, an assistant at Grants Pass last season, becomes the offensive line coach. Bob Fenton will help out in both areas.

Dan Fredrickson, one of the few holdovers at North Medford from 2003, will coach the wide receivers, while Rumrey will handle the running backs in addition to his duties as head coach.

Brent Bowker will continue to serve as the head JV coach and will be assisted by Jay Strickland, Jordan Franko and Jerry Burchfeil.

Rumrey is still searching for someone to coach the defensive backs.

Considering how many people we had to replace, I think we've put together a very good staff, Rumrey says. They're anxious to get going.

North Medford returns a strong nucleus of players, including second-team, all-state center Johnny Vaigafa and third-team, all-state defensive tackle Lorenzo Arenas, from a team that went 12-2 and finished as the state runner-up last season.

Many of the players are lifting weights and doing speedwork in preparation for the 2003 season. The Tornado opens against Lakeridge on Aug. 27 at Spiegelberg Stadium.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN High softball coach Wally Nye has been inducted into the Northwest Nazarene University Hall of Fame.

Nye was a first-team, all-Northwest and honorable mention All-American baseball outfielder for the school that is based in Nampa, Idaho.

Nye batted .453 during his senior season in 1967.

To my knowledge, I'm the first baseball player inducted into their Hall of Fame, so that makes this honor really special, said Nye, who earned degrees in business administration and elementary education while at NNU.

Nye was such a versatile player that he played four positions ' second base, shortstop, center field and right field ' during his four seasons with the Crusaders.

I played wherever the coached needed me, said Nye, who graduated from Prospect High School in 1962. I was just happy to be out there helping the team.

Reach reporter Don Hunt at 776-4469, or e-mail