Ontario High School senior Katie Adams, seated left, signs with Oregon Institute of Technology to compete in track. (Submitted photo)

ONTARIO – Nothing can stop Ontario High track athlete Katie Adams.

Not Lupus.

Not even double knee surgery.

Adams signed this month to the track team at Oregon Institute of Technology.

The 18-year-old from Ontario has competed in state three years in a row. As a junior, she finished sixth in the state in discus. In the Greater Oregon League competition last year, she took first in discus and second in shot put. 

But she’s most proud of how she regained her strength and competed after a double knee surgery and a Lupus diagnosis before her junior year of track. 

“I really love track so I didn’t want anything to get in the way,” Adams said. “Mentally, track was my anchor to keep going and not give up.” 

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She credits those around her for motivating her.

“It was lots of hard work and help and support from all my teammates and coaches and family,” Adams said. 

Despite her success in the sport, she wasn’t sure she wanted to continue it in college. 

Academics have always come first for Adams. She plans to study medical laboratory science at OIT’s Klamath Falls campus. 

“I found a college I liked academically and track came as a bonus,” she said. 

She recalls how, in spite of her love for the sport, she didn’t even know what track was until she hit seventh grade and watched an older cousin compete. From there she tried it and she was hooked. 

The sport has given her a lot, she said, including a family outside of home.

“We have a big track family,” Adams said. “Track brought us together.”

Andrew Zugner, head track and field coach at Ontario High School, has helped coach Adams for three years. 

Zugner praised the Ontario senior for her competitive drive and her ability to receive feedback and bounce back. 

“I am excited to see her continue with her track and field career at OIT as this is something that she has a passion for,” Zugner said. “She is very deserving of this and I know that she will continue to grow as an athlete and an individual.”

On a recent Friday, with an hour to go until track practice after school, she thought about the upcoming season, which kicks off in March, and the years ahead. 

“I really just want to build my techniques and start getting stronger,” she said. “I still have four years to go.”

Have a news tip? Reporter Yadira Lopez: [email protected] or 541-473-3377

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