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Normal Lake Level is 322.00 feet above Mean Sea Level.
Current level for Cedar Creek Lake is: 321.79
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Truitt doesn’t let broken foot keep her from state
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE–Veteran coach Chuck Powers has met a lot of pretty good female athletes in his 40 years at Eustace High School.
So when he says Chelsea Truitt’s accomplishments this year are “mind-boggling,” that’s saying something.
“We knew when she first came into high school, we had a diamond in the rough,” Powers said. “She had a lot of athleticism in a tiny body.”
Despite her size – she’s generously listed at 5-2, maybe 120 pounds – Truitt has played every sport possible at EHS, except basketball, lettering all four years in both volleyball and track.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Eustace High School graduating senior Chelsea Truitt leans against the volleyball net support as she wound up her high school classes last week. She was a multi-sport standout all four years of high school, and has qualified for the state track meet this year.

She’s going to the state track meet, scheduled to start the pole vault competition at 10:45 a.m. Saturday, June 6, after pole-vaulting a personal best and new school record 11-3 in the Region II track meet at Commerce May 15.
In addition to lettering on the girls soccer team, Truitt qualified for the regional meet in four different events – the pole vault, the 100 meter hurdles, and both the 400 and 800 meter relay teams.
As impressive as that is, it’s really old hat for Truitt. She qualified for the regional track meet in five different events as a freshman, sophomore and junior.
What is impressive is that she qualified for and excelled at the regional track meet this year with a broken foot.
The end of her styloid process (one of 26 bones in the foot, high up near the ankle joint) has broken completely off.
“During soccer, I broke it in a game, when I thought I sprained it,” she said. “I sprained it in volleyball, and it got better, but I kept running track and it kept hurting, so I thought, ‘that’s not a sprain’.”
Because she kept playing and running on the broken styloid process, it stopped healing.
So after the state meet, Truitt’s going to go to the doctor, and is probably looking at having her foot in a cast for six weeks or so.
“My dad wants me in a cast, because he doesn’t think I’ll keep (a boot) on,” she said with a giggle.
Powers ranks Truitt among the top 10 athletes he’s ever coached.
“In a lot of things, I’d say she has natural ability,” he said. “In other things, I would say hard work.
“For a girl her size to play front row is something,” Powers added. “She got hurt early this year, and we got through, but we were better with her.”
Powers coaches Truitt in both volleyball and track, and said despite her size, Truitt is probably best at volleyball, even though she’s a standout in track.
As a freshman, Truitt went to the regional meet in the pole vault, long jump, 300 hurdles, and on the 1600 and the 800 relay teams.
Her sophomore year, she did the pole vault, long jump, triple jump and both the 100 and 300 hurdles.
As a junior, she advanced in the pole vault, long jump, 100 and 300 hurdles and the 400 relay team.
“If I was a college (track) coach, and looking at her – and some are – she could do it all,” he said. “The only thing that might be her weakest suit would be the shot or discus, and she could do that too, as quick as she is.
“She’s very, very coachable,” Powers added. “We have a lot of fun, but we still get the work done.”
Truitt has been a starter on the Lady Bulldog soccer team as long as there’s been a team, and was named Academic All-State at the end of this past season, despite missing four district games with her ankle.
“She’s probably the fastest player in district,” soccer coach Cody Taylor said. “If she hadn’t had a broken foot, she would have been first team All-District.”
When Truitt returned to the lineup, she was operating at around 75 percent, “but even at 75 percent, she was able to be a major contributor,” Taylor said.
“Her speed back there just shut other teams’ fast break opportunities down,” he added. “You could not do that on us when she was in there.”
Taylor said Truitt was one of the most competitive players he’s ever seen.
“Chelsea will give you everything she has, all the time,” he said. “She is a competitor, and she will do what it takes to win, whatever the cost.
“Running and doing all the things she did in track with her ankle broke is just amazing,” Taylor added. “She would come to me at halftime, almost in tears from the pain, and then go right back in.”
“All year long, she ran second Sharda (Bettis) in the hurdles races (see related story, page 1B), and we never practiced, because of her ankle,” Powers said. “If she had been healthy, I believe she and Sharda would have run 1-2 at regionals.”
With the physical restrictions she’ll probably have, Chelsea won’t be doing quite as much this summer, although she had planned to be readying herself for the state meet by taking this week off to visit Galveston, where she plans to enroll at Texas A&M University to study marine biology.
“I’ve always wanted to be a zoologist,” she said. “After I get my degree in biology, I’ll probably transfer to A&M (at College Station) and go for a zoology degree.”
Chelsea said she should be able to work at just about anything – in the lab, in the field or in a zoo – but added, “I figure with two degrees, it would make it easier to get a field job.”
The schoolwork part probably won’t be too difficult for Chelsea, a straight-A student who’s 12th in her class – 10th, if you don’t count a couple of seniors who graduated at Christmas.
Chelsea and her parents, Cyndi and Rick Truitt, live in the Deer Island subdivision in Payne Springs, and that outdoor setting helped lead to her love of animals.
“I don’t care what I do, just as long as it has something to do with animals,” she said.
The summer between her freshman and sophomore year, she had an internship at SeaWorld, where she got to cut up fish to feed the sharks every day.
One of the sharks was ill, and it was Chelsea’s job to push a pill into the shark through its gills.
She also got to feed the sea lions, which was not as much fun as it sounds.
“They eat squid, and it was like, really, really nasty, because they’re all squishy,” she recalled with a grimace.


Bettis running for others, herself at state meet
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–Determination and focus. The best athletes have both, no matter what kind of distraction they face.
Kemp High School junior Sharda Bettis has focused on winning at the state track meet next weekend, even though she’s faced the worst distraction possible – the death of someone close – twice this year.
Early this year, Bettis lost her father, who died at age 46, just as he was apparently rebuilding his life after a very troubled past.
“Out of all the people in my family, I was closest to him,” she recalled. “I talked to him every day (by telephone). I told him he was either going to straighten up his life, or lose me and everybody else.”

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Kemp High School junior Sharda Bettis will be running for both her late father and her late boyfriend when she competes at the state track meet Saturday, June 6.

During a lengthy interview, Bettis recalled how her father had gone through six months of rehabilitation, obtained a job and an apartment, and had met a new girlfriend.
“I don’t know what happened,” she said. “He just went downhill.”
She and her sister had to make the decision to remove her father from life support.
“We left the hospital about 12:30 (a.m.), and about 2, they called and told us he had passed away,” she said. “He just stopped breathing.”
Two months later, during spring break, Bettis’ boyfriend, 2008 KHS graduate Nick Lane, was killed in a tragic fall.
Lane had helped Bettis deal with her father’s death, and they had spent five days of spring break together before she traveled to Mississippi to see family members there.
“The day before I was to go back, I talked with him,” she recalled. “I hung up the phone, and 30 minutes later, I got a call from his best friend.”
Rushing back to Dallas, Bettis visited with Lane in his hospital room.
“He opened his eyes and talked with me,” she said softly. “I stayed in the waiting room with his mom all night long.”
In the morning, they went home to change clothes, only to be interrupted by a telephone call reporting that Lane’s condition had critically worsened, and he was undergoing emergency surgery.
“I didn’t know what to think,” she said. “I thought, ‘what did I do? Was I being punished for something?’ My heart totally ripped out of my shirt.”
They had been dating for a year and nine months.
“It was our anniversary,” she said. “It was five days until my (17th) birthday, and we had things all planned out (to celebrate). His birthday was the following month.”
How did she make it through?
“I really don’t know,” she admitted. “I act like I’m okay, but I’m really not.”
Bettis had been trying to gain acceptance to Lane’s college, and the next day, she got an e-mail saying she had been accepted.
“With all that’s hit her this year, she has worked really hard,” track coach Peggy Swierc said. “Coming out of all that, she seems to have put her mind to accomplishing something.”
Bettis advanced to the state track meet last year, finishing fourth in the 100 hurdles. This year, she qualified for the Region II meet in five different events – the 100 and 300 hurdles, the long jump and triple jump, and the 400 meter relay.
At the regional meet, she won the 100 hurdles in 14.6 seconds, which is the best time in Texas coming into the state meet, Swierc said.
“I watched the video, and I was like, ‘wow, I’m really going,’” Bettis said. “I was proud of myself.”
In addition to the emotional burden she’s been under, Bettis hasn’t been totally healthy this year, and competed in only three meets before the District 14-3A meet in Mineola.
One of those meets was the Texas Relays in Austin, where she finished fourth with absolutely no warm-up, thanks to traffic delays.
“They were already lined up on the track, waiting for me,” she recalled. “I thought I was going to pull something. I was shaking, I was so scared.”
Bettis ticked off health issues on her fingers.
“My hip’s out of place, I have a bone out of place in my foot, and there’s something freaky going wrong with my leg,” she said. “In the middle of track season, something went wrong with the knee that I had already messed up – but I’m not going to the doctor until after state.
“The next day – no, that’ll be Sunday – that next Monday, I’ll be at the doctor,” she promised.
Class 3A hurdles competition is scheduled to begin at 12:45 p.m. Saturday. Bettis won state in Mississippi as a freshman, and finished fourth last year as a sophomore. Swierc said Bettis knows what to expect at the state meet this year.
“She knows what the competition level will be,” Swierc said. “She’s the class president, a cheerleader – she’s on a competitive cheer squad outside school – so she knows when it’s time to get focused and get down to work.
“When I saw her reaction (to her time), and how much she wants this, I think she’s going to go after it,” Swierc added. “I’m very, very proud of her.”
“I know what I’m capable of doing, and I have high expectations,” Bettis said. “I’m doing this for them.
“My two sisters both have babies,” she added. “One of them has her GED, and one finished high school. I don’t think anybody in my family has ever gone to college.”
Bettis (who lives with Sandra and Jimmy Sterling, the owners of the Lively Grocery) plans to go to college to study criminal justice.
“I like the scientific aspect,” she said. “I want to be like CSI, and find the evidence and gather everything together. At the same time, I can argue my case if need be.”
Determination and focus. Bettis has that, all right.
“One of my main goals is to be in the Olympics,” she said. “I’m going to go, no matter what I have to do.”


Upcoming games


June 5-6
State track meet
(UT campus, Austin)


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