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VND notebook: Leg injuries sideline Highlands' Martinka

| Monday, July 27, 2015, 11:15 p.m.
Highlands Dominic Martinka (32) brings down Deer Lakes kickoff returner Hunter Burns in the first quarter Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, at Golden Rams Stadium in Harrison.
Eric Felack | Trib Total Media
Highlands Dominic Martinka (32) brings down Deer Lakes kickoff returner Hunter Burns in the first quarter Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, at Golden Rams Stadium in Harrison.
Highlands Dominic Martinka (32) nearly intercepts a pass meant for Burrell's Cole Haidze (87) at Highlands Golden Rams Stadium on Friday October 10, 2014.
Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Highlands Dominic Martinka (32) nearly intercepts a pass meant for Burrell's Cole Haidze (87) at Highlands Golden Rams Stadium on Friday October 10, 2014.
Knoch's (11) Asa Adams celebrates with (12) Dustin Montgomery after  of each of their runs brought the score to 4-3 during the WPIAL playoff game against Blackhawk in the sixth inning at North Allegheny High School on Tuesday, May 19, 2015.
Erica Dietz | Trib Total Media
Knoch's (11) Asa Adams celebrates with (12) Dustin Montgomery after of each of their runs brought the score to 4-3 during the WPIAL playoff game against Blackhawk in the sixth inning at North Allegheny High School on Tuesday, May 19, 2015.
Knoch's (11) Asa Adams jumps on home plate as he scores the fourth run, bringing Knoch ahead to a score of 4-3 during the WPIAL playoff game against Blackhawk in the sixth inning at North Allegheny High School on Tuesday, May 19, 2015.
Erica Dietz | Trib Total Media
Knoch's (11) Asa Adams jumps on home plate as he scores the fourth run, bringing Knoch ahead to a score of 4-3 during the WPIAL playoff game against Blackhawk in the sixth inning at North Allegheny High School on Tuesday, May 19, 2015.

Dom Martinka had a legitimate chance to be the featured running back for Highlands this season, a formidable replacement for standout Elijah Jackson, a 1,700-yard rusher.

But Martinka, an incoming junior, might not be ready until midseason as he nurses a broken leg and dislocated ankle back to health.

“My doctor said I might get cleared to (start running) in six weeks, and that was (last) Monday,” Martinka said.

Martinka injured his right leg during last year's football playoffs, “but this is the opposite leg,” he said. “The good thing I guess is that my body is rested. It tests your patience, but I will still go to practices and keep lifting (weights).”

Martinka was getting in some defensive back work in April at Golden Rams Stadium when he injured the left leg.

“A ball was thrown low and I overstrode,” he said. “My heel dragged and my leg kind of got caught.”

Highlands has plenty of weapons in the passing game, but the Rams always rely on a running game to be successful.

Running back rarely is a void at training camp, but tryouts for the Golden Rams appear to be open this year.

Sophomores Jermaine Jett, Cory Hayden and Tyler Sportelli, and seniors Isaac Gillette and Chad Schwartz had carries last season. Jett had the most from that group.

“I'm sure Coach A (Sam Albert) will find something that works for us,” Martinka said.

Knoch awards

Coming off its most successful sports year in school history, Knoch announced its athletes of the year for 2014-15.

Asa Adams was named the top male athlete. Adams, who will attend Baldwin Wallace in the fall and play baseball, helped lead the Knights to WPIAL and PIAA baseball titles.

Adams also served as a captain last season on Knoch's football team.

Knoch named Katie Bozzo and Ashlyn Carlsson co-female athletes of the year.

Bozzo was a three-year starter on the volleyball team, a team captain and earned all-section honors.

Carlsson was recognized for her standout career in cross county and track and field.

A key component to Knoch's WPIAL Class AA runner-up cross-country team, Carlsson is a three-time state qualifier in the sport. In track and field, she helped lead Knoch to a section title and was a WPIAL and PIAA qualifier.

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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