Malcom Cameron approached the board as he sprinted down the triple jump runway during a July track meet. As the T.C. Williams rising senior prepared to leap, his footwork went awry, causing Cameron to jump off the wrong foot. Suddenly, he felt something snap.
Cameron went to a doctor, but received no explanation for the pain in his pelvis. Over time the pain increased. He struggled to walk up stairs.
"It was really bad," Cameron recalled.
After visits to a physical therapist and an orthopedist, Cameron was diagnosed with osteitis pubis, an inflammation of the pelvic bone. Recovery time for the injury: six months to two years.
Cameron couldn’t train during the fall of his senior year and missed the entire indoor season. He said he started feeling better in February, seven months after the injury, but coaches brought him along slowly.
"It was hard for him not to actually go full speed," T.C. Williams assistant coach Rashawn Jackson said. "We actually had to hold him back from … going 100 percent all the time because we didn’t want him to have a relapse."
Cameron started to show progress while competing in mid-to-late April. He posted quality times in the 400 meters and the 300 hurdles during the MileStat.com Elite Track Classic on April 24 and was gaining confidence.
On May 1 at the T.C. Williams Invitational, he busted through.
Cameron won the long jump with a personal best mark of 21 feet, 10 1/4 inches, took third in the 300 hurdles with a PR time of 41.36 seconds, helped the 4x400 relay team take second (3:23.35) and helped the Titan boys win the team title.
"I’m glad that I healed a lot sooner than [two years]," Cameron said after the meet, "and I’m just happy to be back."
TC head coach Patrick Deville called Cameron "one of the best teammates you can have."
"It’s really rewarding to see when hard work does pay off, even against the most adverse of situations," Deville said. "We weren’t sure whether he would be here but, man, we’re glad he is."
Another Titan who returned from injury to make a big impact was Darnell Roy, who competed in six events during his first day back from a pulled hamstring. Roy finished second in the long jump (21-9), third in the triple jump (41-8 1/4), third in the 200 (22.88) and fifth in the 100 (11.45). He also helped the 4x100 relay team to second-place finish (43.69). Roy competed, but did not place, in the high jump.
"I was a little bit nervous in my first race," Roy said of the 100-meter dash, "and then after that it was all gone."
Chelo Abbe was also a key contributor for the Titans, including a second-place finish in the 800 (2:00.7).
"I think for running [in] the [4x800 relay] about an hour before, it was all right," he said of his 800 time. "I think if I had fresh legs I probably could have run 1:58."
Abbe also helped the 4x800 relay take first (8:14.11) and the 4x400 relay finish second.
Kentdrick Barnes was second in the high jump (6-1) and sixth in the triple jump (41-1). Nicholas Ahumada won the steeplechase (6:52.94) and was second in the pole vault (11 feet). Ayodesi Coker was second in the 100 (11.29).
Coach Jackson and several other TC alums were at the meet, cheering on the Titans. Jackson, a 1992 TC graduate who was part of three state championship teams, said this was the first major invite he could remember the Titans winning in recent years.
"I think we turned the corner and we’ve got a great group of young talent, too," Jackson said. "I told the seniors, ‘You may not be here when we win the state championship, but you started the turnaround."
The T.C. Williams girls finished ninth. Maddie Christy won the pole vault (8-6), Lisa Toledo was third in the 3,200 (12:41.06) and the 4x400 relay team took fourth (4:20.58).