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‘No intention of slowing down’ Heart River senior eyes comeback after injury

Cade Wyant talks long journey back to the court following two torn ACLs, and his determination to make an impact in his new found role.

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Cade Wyant poses for a photo during practice on Tuesday, Jan 3.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press
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BELFIELD, N.D. — Overcoming an injury is a mental and physical challenge, especially for athletes. Being unable to perform or feeling isolated can distort the mind of a confident and talented player, hindering the recovery process.

Heart River's senior athlete, Cade Wyant of South Heart, is no stranger to the recovery process. He has spent most of the last two seasons on the bench due to a torn ACL — twice.

As he returns to the court for his final year, Wyant is determined to make up for lost time and has already made a significant impact on the floor. From his fearless, scrappy defense to his ability to lead the game in scoring, Wyant said he has no intention of slowing down and will be there for his team as much as they were for him.

“[Injury like this] brings you down and kind of puts you in a hole, but I have great friends and great family that keep encouraging me to get back and to keep doing what I love to do,” Wyant said. “A lot of people, like my family, will tell me don't be as rough or don't go after loose balls as much or don't push yourself, but my thought is if i'm going to do it I’m going to do it 110 %.”

Wyant first tore his left ACL his sophomore year in a matchup against Dickinson Trinity. He momentairy returned his junior year, but aggravated the injury and was confined to a wheelchair after his second surgery, where they operated on both his knees.

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Cade Wyant's coaches taping his legs before practice.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

The Heart River curse, a facetious term in small circles, refers to the string of injuries across their program over the past couple of years. However, the Cougars boys basketball head coach Erik Klein is not the superstitious type and said what is real was Wyant’s unreal perseverance during his injury ordeal.

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Cade Wyant running a team drill during practice.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

“Cade always showed up to practice and was like a spare coach out there,” Klein said. “He was still a student of the game. On game day, Cade was always there dressed in nice clothes on the sideline… Cade definitely loves the game of basketball and it's unfortunate that he did miss the last couple of seasons, but it's been fun seeing him back on the court. The hard work he has put in through his recovery process has been rewarding, to see him enjoying his senior year.”

Despite his limited minutes on the court, Wyant has not struggled being a leader on the team this season. Defining a leader as someone who leads by example, Wyant has done exactly that. In their last game of the Roughrider tournament, Wyant was the leading scorer with 21 points in their victory over the towering Hettinger-Scranton, who are loaded with post players.

Wyant is still not at full speed as he was before, but coach Klein believes that he has become a much more disciplined athlete and smarter basketball player. Heart River will be looking for revenge against Killdeer, after losing to them in the Roughrider Tournament by a single point and Cade Wyant will be looked upon to provide valuable minutes and opportunities from turnovers for the Cougars.

“We just want Cade to be a leader,” Klein said. “We want him to be composed, both mentally and physically. Killdeer is a phenomenal basketball team that is well coached and we are going to play a great basketball game to sneak away with the win… Cade likes to compete, he is an energetic individual and I hope he carries that on in life and in his career and I think he will.

After every practice or game, Wyant can be found unwrapping his knees, applying ice and biofreeze and taking the tylenol needed for the pain. He has a very tenacious desire for a deep run in the playoffs, but at the end of the day — whether on the bench or on the court, it is about being with his team.

“Don't let little setbacks hold you from what you love to do,” Wyant said. “My coaches told me plenty of times, ‘It is not a sprint, it's a marathon.’ To take things slowly, but to still do it 100 % and my parents have always been my biggest supporters of all my dreams and have always been by my side.”

Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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