Friday, September 26, 2008

Rudert fights through injuries to become No. 1 for women's cross

Issue date: 9/26/08

By Anthony Fenech
Staff Reporter

Last Friday, Amanda Rudert won her first collegiate race, placing first in the George Dales Invitational, helping the women's cross country team to its first team win of the season.

The victory was yet another milestone in the senior's successful running career, a career that began because of a fall.

Rudert, a Mount Pleasant senior, had spent much of her sophomore and junior years battling injuries before a physical therapist assisted in rehabilitating her back to full strength for her senior year.

As she ran in regionals in fall 2004 with a trip to the state finals in her sight, Rudert's comeback was nearly complete.

That is, until she fell.

"I just remember waking up with my mom and my teammates standing there clapping," Rudert said. "I didn't really know what happened."

Rudert unexpectedly passed out during the race and was rushed to the hospital, where test after test was performed.

After bouts with numerous respiratory infections and bronchitis during the remainder of her senior year, Rudert was recommended to see a specialist. She had asthma.

"The doctor helped me out a lot, and since visiting him, the asthma's been under control," Rudert said. "I was able to run a lot more miles and train more consistently because I was healthy."

Now, nearly four years later, Rudert is excelling on the collegiate scene, surpassing not only other runners but her high school performance as well.

"I wasn't really good in high school," Rudert said, laughing.

Head coach Karen Lutzke believes that is a driving force in Rudert's performance.

"Amanda's high school career didn't end anywhere near the way she wanted it to," Lutzke said. "Because of her health issues, she was a slow starter.

" But instead of excelling in high school, she's excelling in college."

As a biomedical sciences major planning to attend medical school after graduation, Rudert is as much high-paced off the course as she is on it. She juggles a 3.85 grade-point average, volunteer work and church.

Coupled with her persistence, Rudert believes her faith helped her hurdle the obstacles she faced.

"I owe so much of my success to my supportive family, teammates and coaches, but most importantly to God," she said. "If you expect to succeed and are committed and are willing to stand up to the struggles and hard times, it's going to pay off and reward you eventually. You just have to give it time."

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