By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
As a sophomore at Western State (Colo)., Ryan Haebe won the NCAA Division II men’s cross country championship last November in the snow in Spokane, Wash.
However, he won’t get the chance to repeat in Saturday’s race at Missouri Southern because he is recovering from serious injuries he suffered in a fall during the summer.
“He’s doing much better,” Western State coach Jennifer Michel said. “It’s been an amazing four months. It was devastating news, and an outpouring of support came out from his family and friends and community back home (in Evergreen, Colo.) as well as Gunnison.
“He was in the hospital in a coma for six weeks,” Michel said. “He was hospitalized for eight weeks, went to the rehab section of the hospital and has been home for three or four weeks.
“Talking to his family, he was cleared to run 10 minutes a couple of weeks ago. He was with the team, running all over the course and cheering them on. He was at conference and regional supporting the team. He ran 50 minutes (earlier this week).”
Haebe also won the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the outdoor track and field championship in May and is a seven-time All-American in his two seasons at Western State. He competed in the steeplechase at the U.S. Olympic Trials on June 25 in Eugene, Ore.
Approximately two weeks after the Olympic Trials, Haebe and some friends were attempting to climb on the roof of a three-story apartment building in Boulder when Haebe apparently slipped and fell approximately 13 feet onto a second floor balcony.
Haebe's friends told Boulder police they had climbed over the railing of the apartment's patio onto a three-inch metal ledge, hanging onto the edge of the roof above to steady themselves. Haebe slipped and fell from the ledge, landing on the balcony of a second-story apartment below. Two friends jumped down to help him and found Haebe unconscious and bleeding from the head, according to police.