By Kyle Daubs

Hill workouts and speed workouts are hard enough for cross-country runners. 

For Charleston High School junior Ila Richter, her journey will be twice as difficult. 

Richter missed her sophomore track season after tearing her ACL during a skiing accident last winter. Richter had surgery on both of her knees and could miss the start of the cross country season, but she is hopeful to make it back. 

“I’m hoping that I can be back for cross country,” said Richter. “Right now, I have been able to run every other day and bike on my off days. My physical therapist said I should be back for cross country, but I shouldn’t expect the best results ever.”

Richter said that the doctors used parts of her right knee to put onto the left ACL. She said that her left knee “feels good now,” but her right knee is still sore. For now, Richter is limited to running every other day and strengthening through low-impact exercises. 

Cross country season officially started Aug. 9, but Richter said she is still navigating through the pain. 

“That’s the hardest part, not knowing what I will be able to do and knowing what I used to do,” said Richter. “I can’t go as far in workouts. I have to be patient and wait to recover, so I can get back to doing those things.”

Richter was seen as Charleston’s top runner after the team lost All-Apollo runners Megan Garrett and Grace Spoonhour to graduation. Richter joined both Garrett and Spoonhour at the unofficial state championships held in Chillicothe last year. 

At the Apollo Conference meet, Richter placed 13th overall and was 20 seconds out from the 10th overall spot for All-Conference. 

However, at this point in her recovery, Richter isn’t worried about making state.

“I just want to compete,” said Richter. “I’m not worried about those goals. We will see how we start off and then go from there. It’s pretty much going with the flow and getting the team out as strong as we can.”

With a potential inexperienced team on the horizon, Richter is still going to do her part to help. 

Even if she isn’t able to run. 

“I’m going to help out and cheer the others on even if I am not able to do what I used to do,” said Richter. “Hopefully, by cheering the others on that will make them better.”