A recurrence of a hamstring injury sustained in college hasn’t lessened Katie Wise’s desire to accomplish big things in track and field.
Now, like before, the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo remain the ultimate goal.
“I just want to get healthy and see what I can do from there,” said Wise, who excelled as a sprinter at Indian Creek High School and Indiana State University.
“If I keep getting injured over and over and over then it will be time to do something else.
“But there’s still so much I think I can do.”
Now 23, chasing her Olympic dream is in effect Wise’s full-time job while training in Clermont, Florida, near Orlando.
Wise is one of six former collegiate sprinters who are part of Lifespeed, a Christian-based track club coached by Derrick White. Over the years, White has earned a favorable reputation for his ability to train former collegiate sprinters in order to prepare them for competitions here and abroad.
She moved to Clermont in December and has been there ever since.
In February, she re-injured her left hamstring during a training session. It’s the same hamstring she injured in January 2016 while representing ISU at an indoor track and field meet at Rose-Hulman.
“By February I was back to sprinting and hurt my hamstring again, which is very discouraging,” Wise said. “I had an MRI last month and my last injury was much worse than we thought.
“But I’m finally getting back. Right now we’re just trying to play things smart. Strengthening my hamstring is the main thing now.”
Among Wise’s training partners is Quanera Hayes, 25, who in her time at Livingstone College in North Carolina established herself as one of the nation’s elite 400- and 200-meter specialists.
Another is former Auburn University standout Joanna Atkins, a two-time All-American and three-time Southeastern Conference champion in races ranging from 100 to 400 meters.
This speaks to White’s ability to train the best of the best.
Before injuring her hamstring as a college senior, Wise, too, put together quite an impressive track résumé.
She had been named an All-American both as an indoor participant (60-meter dash) as well as outdoors (100 and 200). Wise in 2014 placed fifth in the 60 at the NCAA indoors in a time of 7.25 seconds — second-fastest in ISU women’s track history.
During her sophomore season she clocked the second-fastest 100 time in ISU women’s track history with her 11.18 at the NCAA East Regional. She followed that up with a time of 11.36 seconds to finish 14th at the NCAA finals and a 23.64 in the 200, good for 15th.
Wise graduated from Indiana State last May with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, but decided, at least for the time being, to put running over running a classroom.
She knows that in time there will be that to fall back on.
Meanwhile, Wise’s love of children is currently filled through the approximately 15 hours of babysitting she does each week. Working every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday provides her an income she wouldn’t otherwise have.
Having been too busy to return home at any point in the past five months, Wise misses her family and friends.
She knows and they know chasing a dream is a full-time job.
“My dad (Randy) is like, ‘I miss you. You can come home any time,” Wise said with a laugh. “My mom, dad and stepdad have all been really supportive.”
Name: Katie Wise
Family: Parents Randy Wise and Shannon Wilkerson; brother Kenny Wise, 19
High school: Indian Creek (2012)
College: Indiana State University (2016)
Major: Elementary Education