This would have been the week Bailey Hewitt of Clark Fork was going to tune up for the chance to defend four championships at the State 1A track and field meet next week.
Hewitt wasn’t challenged in capturing titles in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles last spring. And she surprised by taking gold in the long and triple jump. It was a surprise in a sense that she had spent minimal training time in the jumps.
She wasn’t thinking about the spring, though, when she suffered a severe knee injury playing in the 5A Region I soccer championships for Sandpoint. The forward suffered a complete tear in her anterior cruciate ligament and a small tear in her meniscus when her knee was sandwiched between two Coeur d’Alene players as she tried to dribble about 25 yards in front of the goal. She had surgery in late October.
Hewitt was granted approval to play soccer at Sandpoint two years ago because Clark Fork doesn’t offer the sport.
Last spring before the state track meet, Hewitt had given an oral commitment to play soccer at Idaho.
Sometime in the summer, though, Oregon State decided to make a run at Hewitt. OSU offered a scholarship and Hewitt de-committed to Idaho.
Hewitt dreaded the phone call she had to make to OSU following the injury.
“It’s the scariest phone call I’ve ever made,” she said. “I was so worried they were going to tell me that their interest in me was over. They told me they would honor their offer.”
OSU committed 60 percent of a full-ride scholarship to Hewitt. She said she should be able to come up with most of the balance through academic scholarships. She will graduate with a 4.0 grade-point average as Clark Fork’s valedictorian.
Hewitt signed her letter of intent last month. She took her official visit April 13-15 when OSU played the U.S. women’s national U-23 team. The Beavers lost 3-1.
She knew something serious occurred as she planted her leg.
“Once I got hit, I felt the pop,” she said.
Hewitt reached the six-month mark since the surgery April 30.
She’s been driving to a Sandpoint health club twice a week doing preliminary rehab. She should be released soon to begin more intense training this month.
Hewitt is planning on going to state track so she can be a part of the Parade of Athletes when the returning state champs from all classifications carry in an American flag.
“My mom and dad want me to go,” she said. “It’s killing me not to be able to do track. I miss it. I loved it a lot.”
She expects to be at full strength by the time her freshman season at OSU begins.
“My coaches would prefer that I not redshirt,” she said.
Hewitt said she will miss many things about North Idaho, especially Clark Fork.
“I’ve been so lucky to grow up in this area,” she said. “There are many things I’m going to miss. I appreciate everything my small community has given me and how much it supports us.”
Taylor returns to coaching
Bret Taylor’s resume speaks for itself. He has been named the third head volleyball coach at Lake City.
He twice was the head coach at North Idaho College, including taking the school to nationals at the end of his second stint. He also was the head coach across town at Coeur d’Alene.
Taylor replaces Jen Kelly. She guided LC to a 67-55 record in four years including three trips to state and a fourth-place finish in 2007. Kelly, an LC graduate, resigned to spend more time with her family.
Taylor coached NIC from 1986-1995. He was an assistant coach at NJCAA power College of Southern Idaho for one year and was an assistant at Gonzaga University before returning as an assistant coach at NIC in 1998. He took over as head coach in 2003. Three years later he took NIC to fourth in the school’s first trip to nationals. He resigned in 2007.
He will be assisted by former CdA coach Karla Mitchell, who assisted Taylor for five seasons at NIC.