Still seniors: Devastating injuries rob two area basketball stars of their senior seasons, but each still has a presence
Pain, tears and surgery. This isn't supposed to happen during senior year of high school. It was supposed to be the time of Carissa Becher's and Raquel Wellentin's life, the final chance to bond with teammates on the basketball court. Now, both w...
Pain, tears and surgery.
This isn't supposed to happen during senior year of high school.
It was supposed to be the time of Carissa Becher's and Raquel Wellentin's life, the final chance to bond with teammates on the basketball court.
Now, both watch their friends from the bench with major knee injuries.
Pain, tears and surgery.
It's not supposed to happen.
"It's hard," said Becher, a West Fargo senior who suffered a torn ACL just before the Eastern Dakota Conference volleyball tournament. "... I want to get back as soon as I can."
"I was really sad the first week," added Wellentin, a Fargo South senior who tore an ACL during the second practice of the basketball season. "I bawled about it. Players have told me that I'm still a part of the team, so I should just cheer. So that's what I do."
Becher and Wellentin were each expected to play major roles for their teams this season.
A 6-foot forward, Becher was an all-EDC selection after averaging 14.3 points and 7.2 rebounds as a junior. She was injured on Oct. 19 while warming up for a volleyball match against Moorhead.
Becher said she initially thought it was a dislocated knee. However, her knee gave out again as she attempted to come back for the postseason.
Surgery followed in late November.
She said she hopes to be back in time to play softball. But she knows that timetable is extremely aggressive.
"Basically, you give her a shoulder to cry on," said Scott Becher, Carissa's father. "You try to help her focus on what is important in life. Today, it seems like playing basketball. Down the road, it's being able to play basketball with your kids in the driveway."
A 5-9 post, Wellentin was poised for big things on the basketball court after a successful volleyball season. She was a first-team all-state volleyball selection after leading the Bruins to a third-place finish at the state tournament.
Wellentin averaged 6.2 points and 6.5 rebounds a game as a junior.
Her basketball season was finished when her knee buckled early in the preseason. Wellentin had surgery on Dec. 22.
"We were counting on her to have a great season this year," South coach Craig Flaagan said. "In my opinion, she is our best athlete. Wow. For a senior to go down on the second day of practice was very, very devastating to her and the team."
It wasn't supposed to happen to Becher and Wellentin.
But it did. They can't turn back the hands of time, no matter how much both wish they could.
They can't suit up and do it on the floor.
So both are focused on helping their teams in other ways. Both attend every practice, and both sit at the end of the bench for every game.
"I love my teammates," Wellentin said. "I have to be here. No question. No matter what."
My role is to help them in any way I can," Becher added. "... It's hard being there on the bench and not on the floor because you can't help them score points or give them assists. I wish I could. I have the desire in my heart that I want to get back out there. But I know if I do I would probably only hurt myself worse."
The physical pain has subsided, the tears still come-and-go and the surgeries are completed.
Becher and Wellentin both hope for brighter days ahead. Becher said she is mulling options to play college basketball. Wellentin hopes to play college volleyball. Neither has picked a school.
Both know recovery will be a long road. But they remain confident that hard work can get them back to where they want to be.
"I feel for her," Becher said of Wellentin. "... But I know she can help her team just like I am. We will work through it together."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.
Hotzler's blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com