IU senior Samantha Ginther has returned to the IU women’s cross country team as an active runner after sitting out last year because of injuries.
Ginther had a cist on her navicular bone along with two stress reactions in her foot.
“It was a lot, and it wasn’t something that was super duper serious at the time, so, luckily we caught it early enough before it became too serious,” Ginther said, “But the cist in my navicular is what kept me out for the long period of time.”
Ginther ran four years at Carroll High School in Ft. Wayne before coming to IU.
During her freshman year at IU she never finished outside of the Hoosiers’ top four runners in any of her races.
She was named the Academic All-Big Ten her sophomore year.
In the 2011-12 season, the year before her injury, Ginther placed first for the Hoosiers and 64th overall at the Adidas Invitational. She also competed in the NCAA National Championships as an individual qualifier, where she placed 173rd overall.
“Up until that point where I got injured, I had just started to train really well,” Ginther said. “I had just started running with the top two girls on our team, so that was a good step forward.”
Ginther’s injury prevented her from running for eight weeks, and she said when she could run again, she was not in good enough shape to compete in last year’s cross country season. The coaching staff redshirted her.
“I probably would have been able to race OK, but it would not have been the best year possible, so that is why we saved it for this year,” Ginther said.
Ginther will lead the team accompanied by three other seniors. Seniors Samantha Gwin, Erica Ridderman and Lyndsey Wall are also in their last year.
Although Ginther did not race for the Hoosiers, she trained the entire year in preparation for her return.
IU Coach Ron Helmer said he is confident Ginther is ready for this season.
“What I’m seeing now is a pretty prepared athlete,” Helmer said. “I think she’s way ahead of where she’s ever been before.”
Follow reporter Frank Bonner on Twitter @Frank_Bonner1.