ST. PAUL — Frazee junior Paige Ziegler felt some tears coming on after she crossed the finish line in the 100-meter hurdles of the Minnesota Class 1A state track and field meet on Saturday at Hamline University.
It was 10 months ago when she needed help to stand.
Zielger tore her ACL last July. She was playing basketball for her AAU team, guarding someone, when she felt her left knee pop. She was told she wouldn't be able to participate in the triple jump and running the hurdles was a maybe.
It was devastating for her. She had a connection with the hurdles. She had finished seventh in the 100 hurdles as a sophomore.
"They definitely mean a lot to me," Ziegler said. "It's just a much more mentally tough race. You have to be focused all the time. I just absolutely love the feeling I get going over the hurdles and finishing the race. Being told I couldn't do that hurt me mentally and physically."
As she was getting ready to go to surgery to repair her ACL, it hit her that when she'd wake up, she'd need help to walk. On Saturday, she ran. And she jumped over hurdles, finishing third in the state with a run of 15.60 seconds.
"It was chilling," Ziegler said. "The fact I overcame everything to be back where I was and to place third, it was an unreal feeling. I never thought I'd experience that."
The junior plans to be back in the finals for the hurdles next season as well.