Pitt State’s Mosby fights through injury to claim MIAA heptathlon title

Trace Mosby suffered a navicular fracture in her foot before the outdoor season began.
Trace Mosby PSU

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg State’s Trace Mosby thought her track and field career may be finished back in March.

“When I was told I had a stress fracture in my foot that probably wouldn’t be healed in time for the outdoor season, I had kind of been at peace with being done and didn’t have any expectations of doing it again,” Mosby says, “Deep down, you want to give it one last go and get a little closure.”

Mosby suffered a navicular fracture in her foot before the outdoor season started for the Gorillas – and the senior multi athlete was told that her season and ultimately her career at Pittsburg State would likely be over.

“She did absolutely nothing,” says Pitt State head coach Kyle Rutledge, “She was in a boot 24 hours a day for six weeks.”

“I did a lot of visualization and thinking that if this can happen, my body will remember,” Mosby says about the possibility of returning, “I was going through everything in my mind. Just watching your teammates practice can help you grow, because you see a different perspective. I think that kept my mind intact.”

But as last weekend’s MIAA outdoor championships got closer, Mosby started to make a little progress physically.

“She got out of the boot about two weeks before the conference championships,” Rutledge says, “We did some swimming workouts to get her cardio up and get her moving again. She wasn’t released to jog until about a week and a half before the MIAA championships.”

“Last Monday, the doctor said she could give it a try, so we did some light sprinting,” Rutledge adds, “Tuesday before the meet, we went over hurdles. We came out of blocks a couple times and went over a few hurdles and that was it. We didn’t want to do too much. We didn’t want to make her sore.”

Being in the boot for six weeks had other effects on Mosby.

“In the boot, obviously your hips can get a little off. I got out of it and I was like my foot feels great, but my back and my hip are hurting. That kind of threw a wrench in it. We had to push back training even more,” Mosby says, “I was supposed to be running a couple weeks before conference, but it came down to a couple days before trying to loosen up my back.”

Entries for the MIAA championships were due Wednesday, but Mosby’s appointment to see if she would be cleared for the weekend wasn’t until Thursday.

Together with Mosby, Rutledge made the decision to enter her in the heptathlon. If she was able to go, she was able to go. If she wasn’t cleared, Mosby would be scratched from the event.

“It was definitely down to the last minute,” Mosby says.

The day before the MIAA championships began, the doctor told Mosby that if she felt like she could compete, she could give it a go for the meet beginning on Friday at Emporia State.

Despite not fully practicing for nearly two months – that’s exactly what Mosby did.

“We just had to rely on five years of experience and training and know that she’s a very talented athlete,” Rutledge says.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Mosby claimed the MIAA outdoor heptathlon championship on Saturday – the first outdoor heptathlon victory in the Pitt State senior’s highly decorated career.

“It was absolutely unbelievable. It was hard to hold your emotions together watching it, because it was special and I watched what she went through first-hand,” Rutledge says, “We had no idea how the foot was going to feel. We had no idea how the body would feel. She hadn’t done anything physically. We had to manage her physically, to be smart about it and make sure she could get through it. Then we had to manage her emotions, because there were some events that were a struggle. We had to figure out how to do them again. She was just amazing, and what she did for the women’s team was very special to watch.”

Mosby opened the heptathlon by winning the 100m hurdles. She posted a winning time of 14.49 seconds.

“It was definitely hurdles,” Mosby says of the hardest event, “It’s the first event and you’re not really sure how it’s going to go. It definitely exposed my training and the fact that I was in a boot for six weeks. After that, I knew I could do it and finish it off. The first two were the ones we wanted to get through, hurdles and high jump. After that, it was downhill from there.”

Mosby placed 2nd in the high jump (1.64m), 1st in the shot put (10.84m) and 6th in the 200m dash to finish day one.

Day two saw Mosby finish 5th in long jump (5.26m), 1st in javelin (39.98m) and 3rd in the 800m run (2:21.24) – finishing with a total of 5,144 points to claim the conference crown.

“There’s fear that comes with anyone who is coming back from injury, especially in this sport. If you’re afraid of hurting something that’s already injured, fear can overcome you and pull you away from what you’re capable of doing,” Mosby says, “I’ve had times in the past when I’ve had to overcome little injuries, so I think the fear was a little easier to overcome this time. Thankfully, waking up felt good enough to get rolling and get going. Adrenaline and memory kind of took everything else the rest of the way.”

“I was nervous every minute,” Rutledge says of watching Mosby win, “I wanted to see her complete it. I wanted her to go into it and finish her career by saying she came back and did it.”

Not only did Mosby win – but she helped the PSU women claim their 6th MIAA outdoor championship in 8 years – and her total of 5,144 points qualified her to compete in the heptathlon at the NCAA Division II National Championships.

“Did I think she would make nationals? No, I didn’t, but that’s just her,” Rutledge adds, “She defies the odds and defies what people believe is real. She overcame so much…you can’t put it into words.”

“It was incredible. It was an incredible experience,” Mosby says, “It was bittersweet in that I kind of opened that door again, and hopefully we’ll get one more good shot at doing another heptathlon.”

Mosby will spend the next few weeks continuing to take care of her foot, and the rest of her body.

“We’re going to take care of my hip and my back,” Mosby says, “Our goal is to practice when it feels good, and if it doesn’t feel good we’ll call it a day.”

And if she continues to feel well enough to compete, Mosby will finish off her Pitt State career competing in the heptathlon in the Division II National Championships scheduled for May 26th in Allendale, Michigan.

“I want to give even more. Hopefully I can get to a place of mental confidence before nationals, so I can go give everything I have,” Mosby finishes, “I always give it everything I have, but a little bit of it is mental and some of it is having the training behind you.”