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Fred Stabbert III | Democrat

Monticello senior Colin Bunce quickly skis down the course during an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division I alpine ski meet in January at Holiday Mountain Ski and Fun Park in Bridgeville.

Colin Bunce recovers from knee injury to compete

By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO — March 2, 2010 — Like many student-athletes at Sullivan County’s eight public high schools, Monticello’s Colin Bunce is thoroughly enjoying his final year of representing his school on the athletic field.
While all of the athletes at the county’s high schools work very hard in practices and competitions, Bunce worked twice as hard to return to the Panthers’ soccer team this past fall and the Panthers’ alpine ski team this winter. That’s because the 17-year-old Bunce suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee when he fell on the course while competing in a United States Skiing Association event in January 2009 at upstate West Mountain.
Soon after, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Barton Nisonson operated on Bunce’s knee at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.
Bunce said that Dr. Nisonson told him it would be about six to 12 months before his knee would be strong enough for him to return to athletic competition. But Bunce was determined to return to the pitch for Monticello’s 2009 soccer season.
After several months of intense physical rehabilitation, Bunce joined his teammates when preseason practices began in August. He was a team captain and one of 16 seniors on the Panthers’ roster.
“Soccer practice started six months after my surgery,” Bunce said. “It was great to get back on the field again.”
Bunce wore a protective knee brace, but played the entire season. It was his fourth season as a starting player on the Panthers’ varsity squad.
Once the soccer season ended, Bunce turned his attention to skiing. The recently completed 2009-2010 season was his fifth as a member of the Monticello varsity alpine ski team.
Bunce skied very well during the season. In the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division I championship meet on Feb. 2 at Holiday Mountain Ski and Fun Park in Bridgeville, he placed fifth in the boys’ race in 35.28 seconds. Monticello won the team event with a total time of 2 minutes, 29.13 seconds.
In an OCIAA meet the previous day at Belleayre Mountain, Bunce placed sixth in the boys’ race with a time of 1:08.21 to help the Panthers win that event with a total time of 4:36.05.
Considering all that he has been through during the past 12 months, winning the OCIAA division title was special for Bunce.
“It was great to be able to help my teammates bring the division championship back home to Monticello,” he said.
At the Section IX Alpine Ski Championship Meet held on Feb. 12 at Hunter Mountain, Bunce finished 12th in the boys’ race in 81.21 seconds. He narrowly missed qualifying for the New York State Alpine Ski Championship Meet.
Bunce is now looking forward to the spring sports season.
“I plan on doing track if the knee cooperates,” he said.
He wants to compete in the pole vault and the 200-meter run for the Panthers’ track and field team.
Bunce missed the 2009 track and field season due to his injury, but was a member of the Monticello team two years ago as a sophomore.
Bunce, who said he would like to try and play soccer in college, appreciates being able to play the sports he loves during his last year at Monticello High School. And he is grateful to all those who helped him return from his devastating knee injury.
“I really appreciate all of the support from everyone,” he said.
Two of the people who are most pleased to see Colin out on the field playing soccer, skiing down the slopes and competing in track and field again are his parents, Mike and Kathy Bunce.
“He worked very hard to get back out there,” Mike Bunce said. “When he first injured his knee, we thought it might be 10 months to a year before he could play again. But his rehabilitation went great and he came back after six months. We are very proud of that.
“We are so proud of Colin,” Mike Bunce added. “He keeps his grades up, has a great work ethic and helps his teammates.”

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