Tamaqua track coach Tom Kanger first thought it was a belated April Fool's joke.

When he realized the news was true, there was nothing funny about it.

Allison Updike, the defending state champion in the javelin, decided to get a few more throws in near the end of practice this past Monday. On one of those attempts, though, the Raider senior suffered a devasting injury that will more than likely cost her the rest of the season and a chance to repeat at the PIAA meet.

Updike, who battled back from a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in her left knee two years ago, this time tore the ACL in her right knee. The freak mishap also left a slight meniscus tear.

"She just stepped wrong and it gave out," said Kanger. "It happened so quick. She was just doing a couple of practice throws.

"I thought they were joking. I said it wasn't April 1st anymore. When I realized it was true I was in disbelief just because of how much she's worked. It's just heartbreaking because of the time she's put in in advance."

In her sophomore season Updike was injured during the basketball season. After surgery, she returned earlier than expected and earned a seventh place at the PIAA state championships.

Last season, a healthy Updike won the javelin gold at the Schuylkill League meet, the District 11 meet and at Shippenburg in the state competition.

Last Friday at Tamaqua's Raider Invitational she opened her senior season with a first place throw of 155-4. Her state winning throw of 161-2 is a TIMES NEWS All-Time best.

"You can't replace her," said Kanger. "She meant so much to the team. With just her attitude and her training philosophy, those rubbed off on the team. This has been tough on everybody. It's been a tough two days."

Surgery is said to be scheduled for April 18 and the rehab will begin soon after that.

According to Kanger, recovery time for this type of injury is around six months.

"Recovery time depends how bad it is," he said. "Whatever the time is they say, she's already proven that doesn't always hold true.

"It's rough to have to go through it again but if anybody can do it, she can. She has to take some time to deal with things but I think she'll come back and be around the team. She's always supportive of her teammates. Like I said before, everybody is affected. She was a big nucleus of this team. I'm sure she'll be there for them."

How big was Updike for the Raiders?

Besides competing in the three throwing events (javelin, discus, shot put), she could also provide help in other areas.

"She can high jump or even run the 100," said Kanger. "She's offered to do anything for the sake of the team. That's the type of person she is."

While her injury has wiped out her scholastic career, her head coach believes she'll battle back one more time and be ready for her future in college. Just a couple months ago, Updike signed her letter of intent to attend Georgia University.

"(The injury) shouldn't affect anything with her scholarship at Georgia," said Kanger. "I'm sure they'll just tell her to get better and then get herself ready to go. I believe (Georgia) already knows. Honestly, I know she'll come through it again."

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HAT TRICK ... The Palmerton soccer team is off to an 0-3 start this season, but you can't blame Casey Rinfret.

Casey Rinfret has scored seven of her team's eight goals this season, recording hat tricks in a 5-4 loss to Moravian Aacademy and a 4-3 overtime loss to Notre Dame. Rinfret also accounted for the Bombers' lone goal in their first game of the season, a 3-1 loss to Wilson.

Four other area players have had multiple-goal games this season. Northwestern's Katie Hughes and Sara Jones, and Pleasant Valley's Kristin Hart and Dianna Conner have all had two-goal games in the early going.

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NET GAIN ... Gonzolo Hernandez-Cascante, the Tamaqua tennis team's No. 1 singles player, is currently 6-0 on the season. Hernandez-Cascante is the only undefeated player in the TIMES NEWS area. Five of his six wins have come in straight sets and he has only dropped 21 games in his six matches.

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DIAMOND-LESS ... While every school has been affected by the poor weather conditions this spring, Marian and Weatherly have probably been hit the hardest.

The Colts' baseball team and the Wrecker baseball and softball squads still haven't played a game all season. The rain and snow have wiped out five Marian baseball games and five Weatherly softball games while four Wrecker hardball contests have had to be rescheduled.

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BEAR BOMBS ... Pleasant Valley has hit a home run in each of its first three baseball games this season and each long ball has come from a different player.

The Bears' Joey Weismeth went deep in the team's season opener while Rob Getz circled the bases in Game No. 2. Derrick Walling made it three in three games when he went yard this past Monday.