Luke Vonesh had high hopes for the track season-chasing a school record, a return trip to the Minnesota state high school meet, improving on last season's place at state.
None of those dreams will become reality. The East Grand Forks Senior High standout's track season has ended due to the recurrence of a broken bone in his right hand.
"It's frustrating,'' the senior said. "I feel like I'm letting my team down, both with the points I could put up for the team and by not being there to help the younger throwers.''
A three-sport athlete, Vonesh initially broke a bone in his hand while making a block in the second football game of the 2018 season. He missed one game and played the remainder of the season with a cast.
The senior continued playing once hockey started, having the cast removed in December. But the track season started slowly by Vonesh's standards. His best throws were 47-feet-11.5 inches in the shot in an indoor meet and 132-11 in the discus.
" I knew I was coming back from the injury,'' Vonesh said. "But I knew what I was capable of throwing and I wasn't achieving the numbers I wanted. The discus was getting up there. But the shot, I knew I could throw better. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't doing better.''
A check-up with a doctor last Friday revealed the bone had again broken. He had surgery Tuesday and Vonesh is expected to wear a cast on his throwing hand for approximately three months. "I thought nothing would come of the checkup,'' Vonesh said. "I thought maybe they'd give me a cortisone shot and I'd be fine to throw. I didn't realize it was broken again; same bone, same place.''
Senior High coach Kirk Misialek said Vonesh was probably the front-runner to win the shot at the Section 8A meet in June and had a shot at getting to state in both throwing events.
"He's not a real big kid for a thrower,'' Misialek said. "But he has quick feet. He's a good athlete who knows his technique.''
Vonesh has been no stranger to throwing success.
He won the Section 8A shot put title last season with a throw of 50-0.75 and went on to finish ninth at the Class A state meet.
Misialek said Vonesh was the first Green Wave shot putter to reach 50 feet since Brady Herndon in 2005. "For a junior to throw 50 feet, that just doesn't happen very often,'' Misialek said.
The senior had his eyes on the school record of 53-4 set by Keith Solem in 1979.
"After what I threw last year I thought I had a chance at it,'' Vonesh said. "That drove me to work harder. I put a lot of time in the weight room. I went up nine feet from my freshman to sophomore year, and six feet from my sophomore to my junior year. So I was hoping I could get three more feet.
"Obviously I can't get that now.''
Misialek was anticipating Vonesh becoming a consistent 50-foot thrower in the shot. Instead, Senior High's trio of standout throwers from a year ago-Vonesh, Chase Olderbak and Jhett Pesch-is down to just Olderbak, with Pesch out with a shoulder injury.
"It's tough to swallow,'' Vonesh said. "But it's something I can't do anything about.''