For three years, Nicole Wierks's body seemed determined to sabotage her basketball career.
It began with a torn ACL in her final high school year at Chilliwack secondary school. Reconstructive surgery followed, but a year later, while playing her first year for the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) Cascades, the ACL again ruptured, along with Wierks's meniscus. Her meniscus was removed, but then her shoulder began rebelling. And then, late last season, Wierks suffered a stress fracture in her foot just before the playoffs.
She played through the pain, but the decision to do so caused prolonged her recovery and rehabilitation last offseason.
Wierks could have surrendered. But she didn't.
On Friday, she played 29 minutes and claimed 11 rebounds for UFV in the Canada West final four in Regina. And while the Cascades didn't win either of their two games this weekend (they will have a second chance at advancing to the national championship at a regional tournament next week), for Wierks, the 2011/12 season has already been a success.
For the first time since Grade 10, Wierks has enjoyed an injury-free season. She played in all 18 of the Cascades games, averaging 10.6 points and just under six rebounds per game.
And last week, Wierks was nominated as the Canada West finalist for the CIS Tracy MacLeod Award for determination, perseverance and unwavering spirit.
"Nicole's perseverance is an inspiration to our entire program," said UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer."