Injury sidelines Skarda for nationals
Colorado Mesa University cross country runner Alexis Skarda had always wanted her team to join her at the NCAA Division II national championships.
Although the senior qualified for nationals this season for the third time in her career, the two-time All-American pulled out of this weekend’s race because of a foot injury.
“It was a hard decision, but I didn’t want to compete for 32nd place,” Skarda said. “It would’ve been a different story if the team would’ve gone. I probably would’ve tried to run.”
Mesa coach Gig Leadbetter agreed.
“She’s bummed too, but she needs to get her foot fixed,” he said. “To go to nationals and not run your best, it’s not worth it.”
The Colorado Mesa senior originally injured her foot in the NCAA Division II outdoor track & field championships 5,000-meter run last May.
She stayed off it most of last summer until she thought it was better and attempted to run again at the end of summer. She ran in the Joe Vigil Invitational on Sept. 10, but came in limping. She ran again Oct. 1 at the CU Shootout in Boulder and was limping at the finish but still won the college division title.
Skarda stayed off the foot until regionals two weeks ago, but stayed in shape by competing on the Mesa club cycling team.
She won the USA Cycling Division II women’s cross country mountain bike national title the last weekend of October with a time of 1:50:23, beating some cyclists from Division I schools. She placed second overall in the short track behind a Division I cyclist from the University of Denver.
“That was great just to race at all,” Skarda said. “I didn’t think I had a chance to win. The course was good. There were a lot of hills and it was muddy, so we had to get off our bikes a lot.”
She placed 16th at the regional cross country race with the injured foot and qualified for nationals, but she was CMU’s only qualifier.
“She shouldn’t have run (at regionals), but having run with Kelsey (Follett) and Brooke (Bosman) for four years, she wanted to go as a team,” Leadbetter said. “Our only chance was if she ran. She should’ve gotten second at regionals.”
Skarda is scheduled to get an MRI during the Thanksgiving break. She plans to heal in time to run for the indoor track season.