Finally, track fans would get a chance to witness Pinkerton Academy junior Ryan Dane at his best.
After pretty much overcoming a chronic high hamstring injury suffered as a sophomore with a promising indoor campaign this winter, Dane was looking forward to the outdoor season with unbridled enthusiasm.
“I was excited, I was ready to have a big season,” said Dane, a resident of Hampstead. “I felt pretty good, pretty healthy.”
That was definitely not the case a year ago in the spring of his sophomore year when, after winning the long jump at the indoor state meet with an impressive mark of 21-9, he developed the hamstring injury, one that cost him nearly the entire outdoor season. He was pretty much limited to running a few relays.
Moreover, the injury lingered and was still apparent at the start of this past indoor season, which head coach Carol Quarles was well aware of and planned accordingly.
“Those type of injuries don’t easily go away,” said Quarles. “So I undertrained him this indoor season. To protect him, I only allowed him to train minimally and allow one event in the early league meets, usually the 55 dash.”
The strategy worked like a charm. By the Division 1 state meet, Dane was ready. He finished sixth in the 55 dash with a 6.81, took second in the long jump with a 21-5 and was on the 4x200 relay that came in first.
That relay, which included classmates Ben Fleming and Patrick Cotnoir and senior standout Conor Seleny, had earlier set a school record and then set a state record when it recorded a 1:31.05 at the New England meet.”
“That was definitely the highlight, getting those records,” said Dane.
Looking to the spring, prior to the coronavirus wiping out the season, Dane said he was "pumped to get to 22 feet in the long jump." He was also anxious to see what he could do in the 100-meter dash ( "I’d like to get in the low 11s or high 10s"), an event he hadn’t run since his freshman year, as well as take part in the 4x100 relay.
Dane showed his track potential in middle school when, as an eighth grader, he finished first at the state meet in the long jump, high jump and the 100 meters. Quarles remembers recognizing his potential then and, after helping tweak his running form, predicted an impressive spring.
“Ryan was looking forward to the outdoor season and I’m sure it would have been a great one,” she said. “But watch out for next year!”