If a golf fan were at The Golf Club at Southwind on Thursday afternoon following any of the high school girls play, they would hardly notice 5-foot-5 inch Kamie Rash of Syracuse.

Quiet and unassuming, the senior Lady Bulldog has re-established herself as one of the top prep golfers in southwest Kansas.

In taking a snapshot look at her career at Syracuse, it's not difficult to understand why she's put herself into the upper echelon of female athletes.

Two years ago as a sophomore, she won three individual medals at the Class 2A state track meet. In the fall of 2008 she finished second in the Class 3-2-1A state golf tournament at Emporia. She then turned to the basketball court where she was the Lady Bulldogs starting point guard.

Just past the halfway mark of the season and Syracuse sporting a 9-4 record, Rash was averaging a team-high 17 points per game. Then, in a Hi-Plains League road game at Elkhart, the diminutive Rash went down with what would later prove to be a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Without her, the team struggled and finished 12-10. And when her teammates were watching their season end with a thud at the Class 2A sub-state tournament in Johnson, Rash was on the operating table in Colorado Springs having her left knee ligament repaired.

"It was awful not to be there with my team," Rash said Thursday after she won the Holcomb Invitational tournament. "I really like to compete and it was difficult not being out there trying to help the team."

Following her early March surgery, Rash missed the track and field season and was going through extensive rehabilitation of her knee.

"It seems like it has been a long time now, but I think it went faster than I expected," Rash said of her six-month rehab. "Your mind plays with a lot of stuff in life and you've just got to develop mental toughness to work through it. You've just got to keep going."

Rash admits that some days were worse than others as she went to track practice daily and to area track meets.

"I don't think it really hit me until I was at the final day of the state track meet (in Wichita)," Rash said. "I couldn't run and I knew then what I had missed out on. Sometimes you just have to stick with it. My love of sports kept me going and I had some great people encouraging me."

Rash said one of the learning experiences she has gained over the past seven months is that a person can't afford to get down on themselves or on life.

"This wasn't the best experience or situation, but you've got to let it go," she said. "This has taught me a lot of patience and that's not normally me."

Rash said if she could offer any thoughts to other athletes who go through similar injuries and recovering time, it was to remain optimistic and to work hard.

"I never gave any thought that I wouldn't be back playing again," said Rash, who said her knee feels strong once again. "I'm excited to be back out competing."

Over the last seven months, through hours and hours of rehabilitation, Rash has been an example of perseverance. We could all take a lesson from her.

Sports Editor Brett Marshall can be reached at bmarshall@gctelegram.com.