MINOOKA — Not many people have been through what Ethan Cane has gone through this track and field season.
The injuries have been piling up for the senior triple jumper all season. His latest injury, shin splints, has forced him to miss full weeks of practices just so he could be healed in time for events.
“I’ve had shin splints since last year, and it’s definitely the hardest thing to get over,” Cane said. “Some practices I can’t get through the warmup without my shins hurting. It’s tough because it really affects how I perform and I feel that I can’t reach my full potential sometimes.”
Despite the nagging injury throughout the past year, Cane has been a huge piece to the success of the Minooka boys program. It all culminated for Cane on March 1, as he jumped 44 feet in the triple jump, breaking a 34-year-old indoor Minooka record.
“It felt pretty good. I get to leave my legacy here now and I’m pretty excited about that,” Cane said.
“I’m wowed every time I see Ethan take off. He is an unbelievable talent who I think can be top three in state for both the long jump and triple jump,” Minooka head coach Nick Lundin added. “I was smiling from ear to ear when I found out he broke that record. He’s an easy guy to root for because he’s such a good kid. I think he’ll break his own long jump and triple jump records a few more times as we move on.”
Not only did Cane break the record on that Friday evening, but three weeks later, he topped himself.
With the temperature not hitting 50 degrees until the end of March, everyone has been at a disadvantage.
“I actually haven’t been able to practice yet outside due to my shin splints, so I’ve just been stuck inside the whole time,” Cane said. “I really want to practice and get better, and I feel like I haven’t been able to get better.”
“It’s been really hard on Ethan because I believe in taking extra time to let injuries heal and the athlete always wants to push through them. We’ve down it with Kevin Dorenkamper, Dan Popek, and Daniel Ingram in the past and because of the time off, they became All-State athletes,” Lundin added.
“Cane is going to benefit from letting his shins recover. He already told me that they feel a whole lot better. I’m still resting him one more week to be sure. The only dates that matter are sectionals and state.”
Ultimately, though, the weather should heat up, giving Minooka a chance to do something it has never done: win a state championship in track and field. Cane feels confident that this group of athletes can get the job done when they make that bus ride down to Charleston on May 23.
“I do believe that we can win this championship and I do think we will win it,” Cane said.
“I don’t think any other team works harder than us. We don’t have any facilities to work in, and we came out and took second at the indoor meet. That just shows how hard we can work.”