An ankle injury didn’t stop Freehold senior Jen King from having one of the best seasons of her career.
King overcame a sprained ankle to help her team win the Shore Conference Tournament and NJSIAA Central 1 sectional titles this season and she also helped the Colonials come very close to repeating as NJSIAA state champions.
“It was the third time (in my career) that I sprained my ankle and no I didn’t think it was going to threaten my season. It was my left ankle, which is my land foot for everything,” said King, a team captain. “I hurt it two weeks before the season started and I wasn’t too worried because I’ve come back from this injury two times already.”
King, a three-time All-Shore first-team selection, came back strong this season after her injury and that’s something her coach Katie Pusz knew she was capable of doing this year.
“Jen has always been a top competitor but this being her senior year definitely made her stand out a little more. Jen is mentally very tough. When she competes there is nobody else in the room. She really knows how to focus before and during a meet,” Pusz said. “Jen is competitive and when she competes she wants to be number one and she will do whatever it takes. If she makes a mistake during a routine she doesn’t just give up. She will add something else in to get through it.”
King was a solid scorer for the Colonials in the postseason. At the Shore Conference meet, King was second in the all-around (37.65) and finished in the top 10 in all four events. At the NJSIAA Central 1 sectional meet, King was the all-around champion (37.525) and won the beam (9.525) and floor (9.525) while she finished second on vault (9.45) and fifth on bars (9.025). At the NJSIAA state individual meet, King was third in the all-around (37.8) and finished in the top 10 in three (vault, bars, beam) of the four events she competed in.
“It is definitely a whole different mindset for the championship meets versus the regular season meets because you know what the competition is for the championship meets,” King said. “Being a senior, I know what the girls out there are capable of. There is more energy in the gym for the championship meets. It is one of those make it or break it type of things.”
And for the most part, King made her team proud with her performances this season.
“Jen’s best event this year was beam. In the past, she has won the state championship on floor but this year she really focused in on beam. She is so fluent on the beam and makes it look so easy, that you forget she is doing it all on a piece of equipment that is only four inches,” Pusz said.