Columbus East’s chances of a high finish in today’s Hoosier Hills Conference girls track meet took a big hit Friday.

Junior Katie Mack, who is the Olympians’ top high jumper and 400-meter runner, was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her left foot. She will miss today’s HHC meet at Madison, and her status for the May 19 Franklin Sectional is uncertain.

“I’m definitely going to still try and make it for sectional,” Mack said. “It just depends how fast my foot heals and how much pain I’m in.”

Mack said her injury to her jumping foot came from a combination of high jumping and running.

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“I switched to more of a sprinters spike,” Mack said. “I’ve been working really hard to run on my toes, which has helped me improve on my times, but there’s a lot of stress on my toes, which I think is what did it.”

Mack, who cleared 5 feet, 2 inches in the high jump last season, went 5-1 in the season-opener this spring and had been consistently around the 5-0 mark until the past two meets when her foot began bothering her.

“Until the last couple meets, she had cleared 5-0 every meet almost,” East coach Glen Brown said. “Getting that next two inches is where she was struggling. Her form was looking good. It was just putting it all together on the higher heights.”

In the 400 and as the anchor on the Olympians’ 4×400 relay team, Mack had been running in the high 1:03s and low 1:04s.

“That (injury is) huge,” Brown said. “She’s a big part of our team. Her high jump points every meet are huge. Her times haven’t been dropping like she had hoped they would, but she’s been working hard.

“She’s a mainstay in three different events,” he said. “Those are big shoes to fill, but we have some young kids that have been working all year that will have to step up. We’ll pull together and give it our best shot.”

Mack said she is disappointed she won’t get to compete today.

“I’d love to be able to run, but my goal is to be able to be a big part of the volleyball team my senior year,” Mack said. “I don’t want to turn a stress fracture into a fracture and miss my summer conditioning for volleyball.”

A big part of East’s regional championship volleyball team as a sophomore and sectional title-winning volleyball team this year, Mack has received inquiries from volleyball programs at Missouri, College of Charleston and several Division II schools. DePauw has shown interest for track.

But Mack, who ranks ninth in her class with 4.13 GPA, said she knows whatever she decides to do in college, academics will play a major role.

“My goal is Purdue for engineering, and the reality is, I’m not at the level for Purdue volleyball or track,” Mack said. “But I’m getting offers for both, so it’s still on the table for me. I just have to figure out what I want.”

If you go

What: Hoosier Hills Conference girls track and field meet

When: 6 p.m. today

Where: Madison High School

Teams: Columbus East, Jennings County, Seymour, Bedford North Lawrence, Floyd Central, Jeffersonville, Madison, New Albany

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.