She is officially listed in the Hiland basketball program at 5-feet-5-inches tall.
Jenica Schrock will admit that that number is, well, a bit of an exaggeration.
Much closer to five-feet tall than to five-feet and-a-half, Schrock hasn’t let her lack of height interfere with her dominance on the basketball floor.
Nor has she succumbed to injuries, and the psychological issues that can accompany them.
Coming into her freshman season as a highly touted guard in Dave Schlabach’s program, Schrock suffered a devastating knee injury, tearing her ACL and rendering her immobile throughout what she had hoped would be the beginning of a tremendous career path.
While the injury officially put her on the DL her entire freshman season, she faithfully worked her way back into playing shape, both physically and mentally.
While she wasn’t the same player, she did gain valuable experience.
Her junior year was a success, and she helped the Lady Hawks earn their second straight State runner-up title.
But in the offseason before her senior year, fate again cruelly stepped in and delivered another injury this time tearing her meniscus in her knee.
Again attacking rehab with a ferocious tenacity that pretty much defines her, Schrock worked her way back again, this time with the knowledge that she could do it, having experienced it before.
Now, in her senior season, Schrock is back, better than ever, and making life extremely tough on teams with her in-your-grill defense. She has also become a solid scorer, averaging six points per game, while adding three steals per contest. She is even one of the team’s best rebounders, a rarity for someone of her size. But when people watch her play, they can quickly gain a sense as to why she is able to rebound, simply from her drive and desire.
Rehabilitation during both stints wasn’t easy. It would have been easy for her to give up, but that really isn’t the nature of this feisty guard.
“Obviously, not being able to play was a hug factor in my wanting to get back as quickly as possible from both injuries,” said Schrock. “It is so difficult to sit there and watch your teammates play, knowing you can’t do anything to help them.
“But they were the other big part of why I wanted to work hard to get back into playing shape. I wanted to help my team ultimately win a State championship.”
Schrock said going through the second rehab stint was actually easier because she knew more what to expect. Th meniscus is also not as tough to rehabilitate as an ACL, so it didn’t take as long.
Still, the physical and mental anguish that accompany rehab is never easy.
“It’s tough, but you’ve got to keep working,” said Schrock, who admitted that it seemed to take forever. “You have to find whatever motivates you to get through it.”
Schrock’s performance this season has been a huge part of the Lady Hawks’ success. She has been a consistent performer all season long, and the knee has limited her. Whether it is hitting 3-pointers, driving down the lane, or playing that text book in-your-face defense which has defined her career, Schrock is contributing at a high level.
“She’s finally back to where she was before this last injury,” said Hiland coach Dave Schlabach Dec. 30. “I am so thrilled for her because she has worked so hard to get where she is.” he then added of his senior, “We will miss her tenacity and defensive pressure so much next year. She is just one of those kids who plays hard all the time. Any coach would love to have a player like that on their team.”
No matter how tall she might be.
It just goes to show that it may be possible to measure someone’s physical stature, but there is no instrument out there to measure a player’s heart.