Buffalo runner working to get back on track for sophomore year
A year removed from success and injury, Buffalo track standout Madi Michels returns healthy and ready to re-create her freshman success.
Michels, a sophomore, made the Class A cross country all-state team as a freshman and followed that with two top-three state track finishes before succumbing to injury during the fall. Now, Michels returns eager to match her previous success and race at full health.
“She’s one of these kids that’s a goal setter and she’s very, very goal oriented,” Bison track coach Richie Wyant said. “She just really excelled at the distance stuff. She had some trouble back in the fall. She had to battle some injury. We think that’s pretty much over now, but she’s going to do everything she can to be right back there this year.”
After a successful freshman campaign, her sophomore season began on a sour note, Michels said.
“It started out during my summer training,” she said. “I did something to my hip. I think it was related to training, maybe. So, I took a few weeks off and I started therapy. I got back into it slowly and by August, I was running normal again.”
Not long after, the pain returned.
“Last year, I had no problems and then after one race I started having some hip pain and I thought it was from my shoes, so I traded out my shoes and then it didn’t do anything any different. The last race I did during cross country season, I basically limped the last mile.”
With the uncertainty of healing quickly and possibly compromising her track season, too, Michels faced a tough decision when she visited a therapist.
“The therapist said ‘You can either maybe get better by regionals and risk not being ready for track season or I can pull you out now for the rest of the season and guarantee you’ll have a good track season,’” Michels said, “so I gave up the rest of the season, so hopefully this season will be better.”
In her freshman season, Michels placed second in the 3,200-meter race at the state championship and third in the 1,600. She also ran anchor on Buffalo’s fourth-place 4x800-meter relay.
“My personal opinion is her stronger race is the 3,200,” Wyant said. “She just has such a good, strong pace throughout. She really does well at both [the 3,200 and 1,600].”
This season, Michels expects to factor again among the state’s best, but she’s keeping her goals simple, she said, as she returns from injury.
“My goal is this year, after getting hurt last year in cross country season, my goal is to stay healthy throughout the entire season,” she said, “and whether I get PRs or not – that would be great if I do – just want to make it all the way through states and not get hurt.”