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Two Harbors senior goes all out all the time

Two Harbors senior Katie Archer overcame a devastating knee injury last fall to come back as a key defensive midfielder for the Agates in 2017. (News-Chronicle photo by Jamey Malcomb)1 / 2
Two Harbors senior Katie Archer clears the ball in the Agates' 2-0 win over Hibbing-Chisholm Monday. (News-Chronicle photo by Jamey Malcomb)2 / 2

On a crisp, clear September day last year, Two Harbors soccer player Katie Archer took to the field early in the second half in what was already a chippy game against Apple Valley.

A defensive midfielder, Katie and a player from Apple Valley were racing toward the sideline to compete for a loose ball and as sometimes happens on those boundary plays, the Apple Valley player gave Katie a short, quick shove and Archer's knee twisted awkwardly as she fell.

"We were shoulder to shoulder going for the ball and she just pushed me over and I heard my knee twist and I heard it pop and I hit the ground," Katie said. "I just remember that it hurt really bad. I knew that knee injuries are terrible and basketball season was coming up and that was all going through my head as I was falling. They got me off the field and I was just in denial about how bad it was."

The trainer at Two Harbors thought it was just a sprain, but when Katie tried to play the next two games for Two Harbors but she couldn't plant or turn on her injured knee at all. After her parents, Deb and Brett Archer, took her to a specialist in Duluth they found out that she had torn her ACL and meniscus in her knee and she needed surgery to repair the damage.

"We've always called her our 100 percent kid," Deb said. "She doesn't do anything halfway, so when she tore her ACL, she really did it good."

Katie went in for surgery costing her the rest of the soccer season, when the Agates finished in a bit of a tailspin, finishing the season losing five of their last six games. Soccer coach Tom Szendrey echoed her parents with the way Archer plays, 100 percent all the time.

"I would describe her as the rock on our team," Szendrey said. "She always plays just as hard all the time. She never complains about refereeing, she never complains about where she plays on the field. You can always depend on her, she never complains about anything like playing time or anything. Whatever the coach decides, she is all in."

Katie's drive to succeed goes beyond soccer field and basketball court. Whatever she participates in, she does it 100 percent, all the time. Katie is involved with Student Council, the Two Harbors DECA program and, don't forget, she's also a good student and very competitive with her friends.

"She's got a high performing group of friends as well," Brett said. "I think they like to compete against each other."

Katie said the surgery and rehabilitation on her surgically repaired knee went really well, but missing the basketball season was really tough on her. She had been going into school early since she was in eighth grade to practice basketball in the Two Harbors gym and she committed herself to being at every game for the soccer and basketball teams last year even though she couldn't play a minute.

"She got over (the surgery) pretty quick," Brett said. "She was still on the team, so she wanted to be a good teammate so she made every practice, she sat on the sidelines and she made snacks and stuff.

Katie was still excited for the basketball season, but the fact that she was going to miss the entire season really hit home when she came out for the first basketball game of the season.

"I think the lowest point for me was the first basketball game when I had to sit," Katie said. "I went there all dressed for success like you do when you are benching, but when I really understood that I wasn't going to be playing I got emotional and started crying. Carina Hebl came in and sat and talked with me while I was crying and helped me get through it."

True to her 100 percent moniker, Katie attended every game and practice last year even when though late in the basketball season it changed the Archers' plans for a family vacation.

"I didn't want to miss any practices and my family tried to schedule a cruise over spring break and it would have meant missing the last three games before the playoffs," Katie said. "I just really felt like I needed to be there. I don't know that the team would have missed me all that much but I feel like I would have missed the team."

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been a reporter for the Pine Journal since October 2018. He previously worked as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle from 2015-2018. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. 

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