BUTTE — It’s been nearly eight months since Jefferson’s Avery Stiles tore his right ACL during his sophomore football season. The brace protecting his surgically repaired knee serves as the only remaining remnant from his injury.
Stiles was a menace for opposing defenses on the gridiron prior to his injury, affecting the game as a receiver and returner. Upon his return to the track this spring, he immediately showcased the athleticism that has made him a standout three-sport athlete.
In his first meet since the surgery on his knee, Stiles cleared 6 feet, 7 inches in the high jump, a new Jefferson school record. He set his sights on the Class B state record of 6-09, held by current Carroll College track and field coach Harry Clark. Stiles fell short of the state record, but he was still crowned the Class B high jump champion with a leap of 6-06.
Stiles still has his sights set on the Class B state record, and he’ll have help if he’s to reach it. Stiles has driven to Helena throughout the season to work with Helena High high jump coach Andrew Mozer and all-class state record holder Trey Tintinger, who will be a junior for the Bengals this fall.
“(Mozer) has kind of taken me in. He’s let me come in, drive to Helena and work with me, which is more than I could ask for. He’s the real deal, he knows what he’s talking about and he’s helped me a lot throughout the season,” Stiles said.
“(Practicing with Tintinger) is fun. He’s such a great athlete, and it just pushes me. Watching him, knowing that someone my age can do that gets me going, thinking that I could do something close to that.”
Both Stiles and Tintinger won the high jump in their age group at the USATF Montana Junior Olympics in Butte earlier this month. For Stiles, it was the first time he had jumped since the Class B state track meet at the end of May. Stiles qualified for the USATF Regional Junior Olympics in Utah but did not compete.
“Being in that next level, we’re able to set the bar at high heights, and they’re able to push each other,” Mozer said of Stiles and Tintinger.
While Stiles may not be on the track the remainder of the summer, he will be keeping busy between basketball and summer workouts. Stiles said he’d like to play basketball or high jump at the college level, and he’s itching to return to the basketball floor.
“We do lifting every day in the morning at 6:30 a.m., and then we have open gym for basketball at 8:30 to 10:30 at our school. I can’t wait for (basketball), because I missed this whole year,” Stiles said. “Then usually we have throwing twice a week for receivers and quarterbacks just to get better at our passing game. … Sports is basically the only thing I really look forward to. It definitely gets me through the summer. It keeps me busy, which is good.”
Sitting back with a torn ACL kept Stiles from being active, but now that he’s recovered, he’s already working tirelessly to improve upon his impressive sophomore campaign.