Torn knee ligaments aren’t a rarity among athletes.
But to have two teammates in the same grade, batting 1-2 in their lineup, both recovering from nearly the same injury to the same knee, suffered slightly more than a month apart while playing the same secondary sport?
Such was the fate of Coronado sophomores Paige Sinicki and Kaila Angel.
The first two hitters in the Cougars’ lineup have worked their way back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in their right knee. Both suffered the injury playing flag football as freshmen.
“Oh my gosh,” said Sinicki. “It was frustrating because I know how much we both love the sport.”
Coronado coach Missy Krueger already had penciled the two into her lineup months before last season started. Two freshmen, ready to help an already talented team.
“That was the plan from fall intramurals,” Krueger said. “I was upset for both of them because they’re such athletes.”
Sinicki, who has committed to play college softball at Oregon, went down in the first quarter of her first flag football game after scoring a touchdown.
Torn ACL and a tear in the meniscus.
“It was very hard,” Sinicki said. “I’ve been waiting to play a high school season since I was little because I’ve always played up. I was really upset, but my teammates were there for me. It made me a stronger player and person.”
A month later, Angel was chasing the quarterback when her right leg didn’t turn with the rest of her body. Torn ACL.
I was just doing another sport for fun, and it was a bad idea in the end,” Angel said with a laugh. “I was really mad that I let myself get injured in a sport I wasn’t supposed to be playing, but after a while I accepted it and just started working my way back.”
The injuries cost Sinicki a portion of her club season last year and forced Angel out until November, but it brought the teammates closer together.
“I just wanted to be there and help her and give her some tips because I had my surgery before hers,” Sinicki said. “I was giving her tips on what she would experience, and we push each other every day.”
Both still think about the injury at times, but haven’t let it hinder their play.
“Sometimes I guard against it, but other times I think that I have a new knee and it’s stronger than my other leg,” Angel said. “I might as well just go out with a bang. I can’t bend it like I used to, so I can’t slide on my knee.”
Sinicki, the team’s shortstop, is hitting .519 with 44 runs, five home runs and 27 RBIs. Angel, who bats second and plays center field, is hitting .412 with 21 runs and 20 RBIs for the Cougars, who are 9-0 in the Desert League.
“I’m not surprised because I know we both worked really hard,” Sinicki said. “We had a little rough patch in the beginning, but we both worked so hard, and it has paid off.”
Along with senior pitcher Ashley Ward (.590, 29 RBIs) and contributions up and down the lineup, Sinicki and Angel have the Cougars bidding for a state tournament berth.
“They both play hard,” Krueger said. “You couldn’t tell except that both slide head-first now. I think this is the tip of the iceberg for the two of them. “
Contact reporter Bartt Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org