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Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week: No holding back Cummings

CdM senior has pushed aside injuries and will race in two distance events at Division III finals today.

May 22, 2010|By Matt Szabo

Marisa Cummings can smile about it now.

At this point, her year is nearly over. The Corona del Mar High senior doesn't have to wince when she recalls everything she's been through over the last nine months.

Today at approximately 1:35 p.m., Cummings will take to the track at Cerritos College to compete in the 1,600 meters at the CIF Southern Section Division III finals. She can leave a lot of disappointment behind her, and hopefully plenty of runners too, as the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week attempts to qualify for next Friday's Masters meet in the event for the second straight year.

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Cummings, who is also running in the 3,200 today, has already shown she's a master of plenty. It's unquestioned in the classroom, as she said she has a 4.57 grade-point average and is set to be CdM's valedictorian. In the fall, she will head to Princeton to run, just like another famous CdM valedictorian from three years ago — her older sister Sarah.

Everything appears lined up for Marisa. A few months ago, though, that wasn't the case at all. The smartest girl on campus did something she called "dumb" after helping the Sea Kings win their seventh CIF state title in cross-country, tying them for the most won by a single school.

"It was my own fault," she said. "We took two weeks off after cross country to rest, and I just did too much too soon and injured myself. It was a silly thing. It was one of those things where you think about it and it was like, 'Why was I so dumb?' But you learn from things like that."

The Achilles tendon injury didn't cause her to miss any meets, as she was back by late February. But the training time lost left her behind her teammates and, of course, her competitors.

"I really struggled," she said. "This was a very difficult track season for me, especially in the beginning. That was a major obstacle that I guess I had to deal with."

Cummings doesn't need to dwell on it, but coming back from that injury has shown her character. Then again, Coach Bill Sumner has already seen it so much this year.

During the cross-country season, Cummings had inflammation in her foot that she said "came at a really bad time," after a strong summer of training. She had to miss three early meets for the Sea Kings. Yet there she was at the end, a fighter on a team full of fighters. After all, teammate Sarah Keddington had back surgery her sophomore year to repair scoliosis.

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