MANKATO — It has been a difficult two years for Mankato Loyola senior Justine Compton, but she believes the worst of her health issues are behind her and she’s looking forward to strong finish to her high school track and field career.
Justine, the daughter of head coach Dale Compton, was diagnosed two years ago with both depression and anorexia.
The illnesses limited her ability to contribute as a track athlete. Now, however, she’s confident she’s on the mend.
“I’m on medication, and it seems like we’ve figured out the right dosages,” she said. “I’ve gained some weight so I think I can do more this year. The stronger I get, the more I’ll be able to do.”
Justine began as a distance runner with track team, but now she’s doing more of the shorter-to-middle distances. The 200s and 400s are likely where she’ll be used the most.
Although Justine has not been able to compete often the last two years, she has stuck around the program, and her dad said she’s become a valuable asset.
“Justine has been with the program since seventh grade,” coach Compton said. “She’s gained a lot of knowledge during that time and sometimes we’re able to use her almost like another assistant coach.”
Justine is happy to help out.
“I already helped run a junior high practice this year,” she said. “I guess a lot of my dad has rubbed off on me.”
The younger Compton has already decided to attend Dakota State University at Madison, S.D., this fall. She plans to run cross country and track and major in elementary education, with an emphasis on art. If things play out the way she plans, she’ll end up as a teacher and coach.