Baynes eyeing bar at 7' after clearing 6'10" at South Hills Classic earlier in the year - Phil Grove Photo
Errin Baynes couldn’t wait to get his 2012 track season under way.
A first-meet clearance of 6 feet, 10 inches on March 31 made the Wheeling Park standout even more excited about the rest of the year.
Now with the state meet in Charleston just two weeks away, the Southern Cal signee is still waiting for the rest of the year.
Six days after posting one of 2012’s top high jumps nationally, Baynes underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, removing three pieces of loose cartilage and clearing the joint of additional debris. Baynes is hopeful that an intensive and extensive rehab program has him on the verge of a return before the 2012 season wraps up at Laidley Field.
“It feels good, but it’s still not 100 percent,” he said while watching the high jump last Friday at the Mars Invitational. “This is the best I’ve felt since November when I started noticing something in my knee.”
Originally thought to be patellar tendinitis, the injury likely occurred at the beginning of basketball season, the 6-2 senior said. He sat out some basketball games and rested for two weeks prior to his track opener, but the severity of the injury became apparent hours after he finished jumping at Baldwin, Pa.
“I was putting on my sweats, and my knee locked up,” Baynes said of events shortly after his near-perfect performance at the South Hills Classic. “Later when my assistant coaches were looking at my knee, we saw this little bit of cartilage (bulge) out on the side of my knee and you could move it around with your finger.
“I knew that night I would have to get surgery when it kept coming out, and you could see a lump in my knee that wasn’t supposed to be there.”
According to head coach Chris Daugherty, Baynes had a follow-up visit with his surgeon on Tuesday, with the two-time defending champion scratched from this week’s Ohio Valley Athletic Conference meet as a result. Next on the Patriots’ schedule is the Class AAA Region 1 meet May 10 at their facility and Baynes’ lone opportunity to have the chance to capture a third-consecutive state high jump crown.
Playing the role of spectator once again, Baynes stayed positive while cheering on teammate Paige Durkin at a facility where a year earlier he scaled a personal-record 7-0.25.
“Playing three sports, I didn’t lift at all really,” Baynes said of his preparations for the track season. “I tried to stay flexible, but in the weight room I didn’t get much done. Now, doing the physical therapy and getting my quads and hamstrings stronger is definitely going to help when I do get healthy and back into activity.
“It definitely is bittersweet (watching this meet). There were some good jumpers here today. Today would have been an absolute perfect day to display my talents and go for another meet record. I am happy to be here to see some familiar faces and talk to everyone again, but I definitely wish I was out there.”