GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY

Hobart's Guerrero sprints through the wall of pain

2011-10-14T22:00:00Z 2012-08-30T23:49:12Z Hobart's Guerrero sprints through the wall of painBy Steve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com

When the sun is shining bright you don't need to wear a sweater. When the birds are chirping you don't need to sing the blues. And when everything is going right what is there to question?

That's what last season was like for Hobart's Celena Guerrero, who won a plethora of races in the girls cross country season and finished 20th at the state meet.

Then everything changed.

A stress fracture in her shin cut short the track season and ended the summer training schedule. In June and July the sophomore couldn't do a thing.

So when this season started, Guerrero was far behind last year's pace. It wasn't very fun. An 11th place finish at the Northwest Crossroads Conference meet wasn't good either.

"It was mostly because of my lack of endurance," Guerrero said. "At times I was really close to giving up. Not quit, but maybe give up on this season. There were times at practice I didn't want to do anything at all."

On Tuesday, Guerrero finished third at the Crown Point Sectional at Lemon Lake. Her time of 19:59 was only the second time this season she broke 20.

Today, on the same course, Guerrero and her Brickies will bring their shoes to the Crown Point Regional, hoping to continue the come-back trail.

Hobart coach Ty Artherhults saw one thing when he watched Guerrero give it her all on the hills, woods and straight-aways at the Cedar Lake park.

"It's a testament to how tough she is, how determined she is," he said.

Hobart finished third at the sectional, two points behind Lowell. Artherhults believes the growth of the entire Brickies' squad has helped push the star to even higher heights.

The other Brickies who ran well on Tuesday were Mindy Whidden (10th), Carrie Buhmann (21st), Harley Sutton (24th) and Kaylee Gubricky (33rd).

"We were hoping for a 'Celena's back' kind of race," Artherhults said. "I was pleased with her performance. I'd like to see her get a little closer to the top two, to battle a little more.

"But it was a good trial for her. She made a step in the right direction."

Guerrero plans on retiring from basketball this winter, to give her legs a rest. But she isn't giving up on the current race, which ultimately is to get back to state.

The regional will be tough. If she advances from there, the semistate is brutal as far as getting out goes.

Guerrero, though, has already been through hell and is still running with fire on her shoes. She knows the future is bright no matter how this season ends.

"I want to do as good as last year; getting to state will be tough," she said. "Last year, when everything was going great, I thought I was pretty strong. But after going through all of this, I believe I can go even farther."

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