Zachary Winn

Equinox Staff


Senior track star Paige Mills suffered a knee injury that is threatening her bid to nationals

It all started last year.

After a routine run, Mills felt soreness in her tibia, something that she had experienced before on the indoor track.

“It happens during indoor season because of the pounding and the pavement, and there aren’t any trails to run on and I’m a trail runner,” Mills said.

She was able to monitor the soreness and it went away over the summer during the cross-country season.

But once the indoor season returned, so did the soreness.

“I just started running on it and eventually it swelled up about a month into the season,” Mills said.

The coaches and doctors are assuming she tore muscle tissue in her knee and is facing X-rays next week.

For muscle tissue repair, full recovery is supposed to be six weeks.

“I’m really good with rehab.  I get over things quickly and I can get back in shape really quickly.  I’m hoping it will be less than that,” Mills said.

Mills has been working closely with trainers.

She has been tediously switching between heating and cooling, compressing and massaging, doing everything possible to return before the end of the season.

Mills won’t slow down. “I also do a lot of cross country training, I get on the elliptical two hours a day when I can and I also swim.”

As happy as he is with Mills’ work ethic, coach Peter Thomas has been discouraged by the progress. “She’s been treating it but she isn’t getting any better.  It’s been two weeks now and it’s not much different from when it first was hurt.  She’s been doing what she needs to do in terms of elliptical workouts and pool workouts, but she’s still not at a point where she can really push off of it,” he said.

But that won’t slow down Mills.  Anyone has to be mentally tough to handle the frustration she is dealing with.

Despite her long history with injuries, she started the season by running the 5K in 17:31, good enough to qualify her for the Eastern College Athletic Conference finals.

“The season was going great, it was my first indoor season starting out healthy for Keene State, being a senior, so coach and I were very excited to see where I cold take my talent,” Mills said.

Coach Thomas reiterated that statement, “It’s tough because Paige was just running so well until she got hurt.”

Thomas explained how the injury hurts the whole team. “For the Distance Medley Relay, if Paige were healthy, we would’ve had the combination of her with Maggie [junior Maggie Fitter], Sarah [senior Sarah Titus], and Melanie [Freshman Melanie Escalante].  That’s probably a top three team in the country, but without her it drops considerably.  We probably won’t be running the DMR in nationals now because Paige is still hurt.”

The team won’t be able to substitute anyone for the senior without seeing some drop off. “There really isn’t a way to replace Paige because there isn’t a miler on our team that can go that fast.  I’ve just been telling everyone to focus on their individual events,” Thomas said.

There is a small window left for Mills to return, “After this weekend we have two other weeks to have a chance for nationals.  So she’d have to be better by early next week to get a week of training in,” Thomas said.

But the team is still ranked sixth nationally because of its early season success and Mills remains hopeful she will run again in her final season at Keene. “I still have a chance.  Right now I’m ranked tenth in the 5K, nationally they take top 15, so we’ll see how other people do.  I’ve qualified up to ECAC’s so assuming I’m healthy for that I’ll be able to race the 5K again and hopefully have another chance to qualify.  I’m also on the Distance Medley Relay team and we’re currently ranked fifth in the country, so there’s still a very good chance that I can finish out the season well.”


Zachary Winn can be contacted at


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