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My story, My pride: “Surrendering your worries is the best thing ever.” - Meredith Engle


Meredith, soaring to a personal best in the High Jump. (Credits: Liberty Athletics)


Every sporting season, we read inspiring stories of athletes and coaches who have had to overcome adversity before going on to achieve sporting glory. While the allure of being in the spotlight is something that many of us want to have, it is the journey of getting there that we often neglect. However, this is what truly sets champions apart and makes them symbols of grit & hope.


This is a champion’s story of rising after a fall. Literally.


Humble beginnings

Born and raised in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, Meredith Engle was en route to try for a scholarship at an NCAA Division I college. The Northern York High School Senior had attained some degree of success across different disciplines that made her and her coaches realise that she had great potential in the Heptathlon which prompted her to focus on the event. Leading up to her final track season as a high schooler, Meredith decided to focus her attention solely on training for the Heptathlon and went the extra mile to research and write her Heptathlon training programs.


Just as things seemed to be shaping up well for Meredith, everything she was building up to fell apart in seconds. During a game of Powderpuff Football over summer - a popular game played among high schoolers that raises money for a cause - Meredith's fierce competitiveness resulted in an accident on the field that left her hitting the ground in immense pain. What had seemed like a harmless game played by "only the unathletic girls" would eventually set the stage for a long recovery and character-building process for her.

"I remember how sad I was. How awful I felt. I just remembered sitting in the car crying on my way home.”

Recounting that fateful ride home from the hospital still leaves a bitter aftertaste as she still tears up while talking about it. In retrospect, she felt that the whole incident served as a painful reminder that one should always remain humble, especially "when things are going well for us". Before the accident, her mother had tried to dissuade her from participating in the football game just to play it safe (no pun intended) which ended up falling on deaf ears.


Post-injury activities involved chilling on the sofa and reading her favourite comics and books. (Credits: Meredith Engle)


Rolling with it

During the weeks leading up to her surgery, Meredith still clung to the hope that her injuries were not as serious as she thought and would even make frequent visits to her physical therapist in hopes that proper rehabilitation and nursing would be sufficient. However, her MRI test results eventually confirmed her worst fears - she had a completely torn ACL, partially torn meniscus, and a bruised bone.

“I gave myself a day to be sad about it and then I was like, ‘Alright, what can I do now?’ Something like that.”

The week after her surgery proved to be challenging as she found herself heavily dependent on her family to get through daily activities while being medicated on strong painkillers that even made her “pass out twice”. Her father was the only one strong enough to carry her to and from the bathroom and when he was not at home, her family created an ottoman with wheels to roll her over to the bathroom and back to her room in case she passed out again.


The road to recovery

The first-month post-surgery proved to be challenging as there was little that she could do but slowly get mobility back in her knee. Her leg muscles had significantly atrophied and the only exercises that she could do were to “bend and straighten her (my) knee and straight leg raises”. Over time, her condition improved and by the 2nd-month post-surgery, she was cleared by her physical therapists to use the stationary bike and to do more weight-bearing exercises. While having sustained the injuries was not a situation that she would ever want to happen to her again, Meredith acknowledged the benefits that came out of it:

“ There’s actually a lot of great things that came out of what has happened…I get to build my strength back up from the ground…I didn’t know how bad my balance was until that’s all (that) I got to work on for 3 months… ”

Given that her road to recovery took place during the early stages of the pandemic which saw her state undergoing a partial lockdown, she was able to spend even more time rehabilitating at home. In her words, it all “worked out really well” for her and she was able to spend 3 -4 hours of rehab in her basement every single day on top of the physical therapy sessions that she was still able to go for. Such a regime proved to have paid off big time as Meredith saw great improvements in almost every aspect of her fitness and strength. More importantly, the whole process of having to build from scratch taught her valuable life lessons and toughened her mentally and emotionally to be able to better cope with setbacks and failures. When she was finally cleared to go back to her athletic training, she drove to a nearby track, ran a mile and started bawling tears of joy.


Meredith and her family on National Signing Day. (Credits: Dave Werner)


While the road to success was not the easiest, Meredith attributes her success to the fervent support from her family and friends who journeyed with her and made the process more fun and manageable. Yet, she believes that even when times are tough for us, we should always find ways to give back to the people around us. While she was unable to train and compete, she started volunteering her time as a coach at her high school to help her peers who were preparing to compete. Even though there were times when she would get slightly emotional being at these track meets and not being able to compete, she believed that it was great to still be there and have fun while helping her friends out.


Long-awaited Redemption

Going off to College in August of 2020 signified a fresh start for Meredith who, up till then, had yet to compete in a Heptathlon. The current Junior at Liberty University wasted no time in getting down to business as quickly hopped onto a recovery program holistically designed by the school’s athletic trainers and coaches to get her back on form for the NCAA season that year.


Meredith with her Coach, Lance Bingham (Top) and her fellow multi-event teammates after winning their ASUN conference championships (Bottom). (Credits: Liberty Athletics)


Together with like-minded teammates who shared the same values and goals, Meredith found herself even more inspired than before to achieve her goal of winning the Pentathlon and the Heptathlon in the ASUN conference indoor and outdoor championships respectively. While her freshman season saw her losing out on the indoor Pentathlon title by just 3 points, she came back even stronger the next year to clinch her spot as the 2022 ASUN Indoor Pentathlon Champion with a 1.74m record-breaking clearance in the High Jump.

“ That was one of the most fun experiences that I’ve ever had. You should have seen me that day. I was having the time of my life running around, doing things I love, and getting to talk about the Lord and how much he had worked in my life. ”

Finally becoming the Pentathlon Champion of the ASUN Conference! (Credits: Liberty Athletics)


Though a recent stress fracture on her foot resulted in her redshirting her 2022 outdoor season, Meredith shared that it did not affect her much as her past experiences have taught her to be grateful for the blessings that she has received along with the character transformation she has experienced.


One piece of advice for our readers

“When we’re in difficult and hard places…we have to recognise that us worrying about it and trying to control things, it does us no good…it’s far better for us and much less stressful when we can just give that to God and trust that he has a plan. Of course, work hard and come back stronger because that’s what I did but I can’t promise that with every hard scenario…the outcome is going to be exactly how you want it to be...It is so easy to lean into the lie that there’s so much that we can control but if you know what the truth is…then trusting in that and surrendering your worries is the best thing ever.”

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