TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Shania Cromartie didn't get to finish things the way she wanted, but she leaves Leon High School a two time State Champion in two different sports and says everything she's gone through has only made her stronger.
Cromartie began her senior year by winning State Championship in volleyball. She looked to close things strong by defending her State high jump title in her final track and field season as a Lion.
"I just jumped and landed wrong," said Cromartie, "and the rest is history."
It wasn't meant to be.
At a volleyball tournament the week before spring break, on a routine play, she tore her ACL, her MCL and her meniscus.
"I was very devastated because I knew this would probably be my last season ever running track," Cromartie said. "I was like, 'Good thing it wasn't my jumping leg. If I can just be able to get close enough to the bar to jump off the left leg, I'll be good!"
Any hope she had of competing was dashed for good when sports shut down thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I've had time to really just focus on my recovery, and focus on my physical therapy, and not really feel like I'm missing out on too much," said Cromartie. "Everyone was kind of in the same boat as I was being in quarantine and everything. It's definitely not how I thought my senior year would end."
It was an unwelcome end, but she has a bright future ahead. Cromartie will play volleyball at Mississippi State.
"It's a moment I've been anticipating for a very long time," said Cromartie. "I'm excited I'll finally be able to go."
It's a moment that she'll enter with newfound wisdom.
"I think the biggest takeaway from the year, especially since I injured myself, is that you can't always control the event or what happens," Cromartie said. "It's just about how you respond and that affects the outcome."
When she's healthy, she'll be more than ready to give that response.
Cromartie said she's already decided to redshirt her freshman season. She's getting ready to undergo a possible second surgery on her knee before she heads to Starkville in a couple of weeks and, funny enough, she wants to major in physical therapy.