As the spring track and field season started last year, Stone Bridge's Kyle Kinnally was eager to carry over the success of his junior cross-country campaign onto the track. But those hopes were lost when an injury to his left leg sidelined him well before the start of the district championships.
Again this spring, Kinnally is confident heading into the outdoor track season after excelling in cross-country in the fall. But this year he is feeling pain free.
Stone Bridge's Kyle Kinnally had a strong cross-country season last year, but he missed the district track championship with a muscle injury in his left leg.
(Katherine Frey For The Washington Post)
"It was very frustrating last year," Kinnally said. "I kind of had a breakout season in cross-country, and I was hoping for a strong season, but I couldn't do anything. . . . This year I'm excited about the season. I have set high goals for myself in terms of what I'm hoping to do at the end of the year."
By the fall, Kinnally recovered from his injury and was a force in cross-country. He was consistently the AA Dulles District's top finisher throughout the regular season in September and October, and he finished second at the Dulles District meet. He was the area's top finisher at the AA state meet, taking eighth overall.
This track season, Kinnally probably will be one of the area's top male distance runners.
"I expect good things from Kyle," said Stone Bridge Coach Bob Mendes. "He's been running well. He's had some good conditioning. He's been looking good, and we're hoping he can stay healthy."
The injured muscle last spring abruptly halted a rapid rise. Kinnally first went out for the cross-country and track teams as a sophomore, but he said he did not take the sport too seriously until his junior cross-country season, when he was among the area's best performers. For the first time in his career, Kinnally qualified for the Region II championships, and at that meet he qualified for the state championships.
"I'm not sure what happened" during that junior season, Kinnally said. "I guess I was running with more confidence and more motivation. I was working hard to do well."
He started the track season four months later with a slight twinge in his hip, and he tried to run through the pain early in the season. As the season progressed, the pain worsened, spreading down his left leg. He eventually learned that he had a slightly ruptured IT band, a muscle that runs from the hip to the kneecap.
The injury knocked Kinnally out of the district meet, and he did not compete again until this past fall.
After his successful cross-country season, Kinnally said he started early on the track season with workouts in the winter. (There is no indoor track in Loudoun.)
"I started doing workouts before [practice] started, so I can be in good shape," Kinnally said. "I'm excited about this season."