But David Klech is trying to quash his disappointment and take the long view on his promising track-and-field career.
The 2006 Gatorade National Track and Field Athlete of the Year from California High expected big things from himself this season as a freshman at UCLA. None of it happened because of a series of injuries to his hamstring, ankle and quadriceps that will keep him from competing this weekend at the NCAA West Regionals in Eugene, Ore.
"It's definitely hard," Klech said. "This is a new thing for me. I've never really had to deal with a long, intense injury. I had a lot of minor injuries in high school.
"It's been really hard to know that I've come from a lot of success in high school and not to be able to live up to expectations for myself. Hopefully, the time I take will really help me get healthy and lead to good things to come in the future."
UCLA hurdles coach Tony Veney is sure of it. In fact, Klech's future is at the heart of why he advised shutting it down for the next few months to let his body heal.
"With talented athletes like this, the career down the road is far more important than trying to be shortsighted," Veney said. "It's very frustrating for him. But when he and I spoke about resting for the rest of the year, he was at peace with that. It lets himknow where our priorities are.
Klech was so hindered by injuries he never got the chance to show off his versatile talents. At Cal High, Klech excelled in both hurdle races, the high jump and the long jump.
The 6-foot-4, 170-pounder seems to be a decathlete waiting to happen.
"I've already told my multi-event coach, 'Don't come around me.' I set him straight first week of school," Veney said.
Actually, the notion intrigues Klech. A little. Someday.
"It's something that way down the line is still a possibility," he said. "Right now I feel like I have a lot of potential in both the 400 hurdles and the 110 hurdles, and I want to pursue that."
Perhaps the greatest lesson Klech absorbed this season is that competing in multiple events at the Division I collegiate level is far different from what it was in high school. As a result, the jumps may take a back seat for a while.
"Right now, I really want to be the next great 400 intermediate hurdler," said Klech, whose 50.35-second clocking in the event last year was the fastest by a U.S. high schooler.
Veney insists it's too early to settle on an event.
"Once we get him healthy, his body will move in the direction of his greatest ability," Veney said. "Watch him in the highs. Those intermediates kind of overshadow that he's a pretty good high hurdler."
So while his teammates, including ex-James Logan star and sophomore high hurdler Kevin Craddock, compete Friday and Saturday in Eugene, Klech will remain on campus.
His chance to run at Hayward Field will come, perhaps a year from now at the Olympic Trials.
"Three years ago I went to the Olympic Trials in Sacramento and said, 'This is what I want to do,'" Klech said. "This year has made me more determined to do great things down the line."
LODREE'S LEGACY: Richmond's Ashley Lodree, a senior at Washington, again put her name alongside one of the greats of the sport at the recent Pac-10 meet. By placing second in the 100 hurdles, third in the long jump and fourth in the 100, Lodree joined then-UCLA star Gail Devers as the only women to place in those three events at the Pac-10 meet.
Lodree also scored in the three events in 2004, while Devers swept all three in both 1987 and '88. Competing in the long jump for just the second time in three years, Lodree recorded UW's best mark in 23 years with her personal-best effort of 20-81/2.
At the West Regionals this weekend, where the top five finishers in individual events secure bids to the June 6-9 NCAA nationals in Sacramento, Lodree will compete in just the hurdles and the long jump.
TRIPLE THREATS: Stanford junior Erica McLain is the overwhelming favorite to win the triple jump at the regionals, but ex-James Logan High standout Decontee Kaye, a sophomore at San Diego State, is seeded No. 2 with a school-record mark of 43-103/4.
A WOW 200: The June 10 Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., will feature almost certainly the best non-Olympic 200-meter field in history. Lining up for the half-lap sprint will be 100-meter world recordholder Asafa Powell, Olympic 400-meter champ Jeremy Wariner, and young U.S. stars Xavier Carter and Wallace Spearmon, both of whom ran sub-19.7 times last year.
Fans also will be treated to the first U.S. appearance of multiple world-recordholder Kenenisa Bekele. The 24-year-old Ethiopian will run his first outdoor 2-mile.
FINISH LINES: Ethiopian distance legend Haile Gebrselassie, who announced his retirement after the 2005 World Championships, will return to run the 10,000 meters Saturday at Hengelo, Netherlands, the site of three of his world records. ... Sunday's Road to Eugene 2008 meet, the day following the NCAA regionals, will include American recordholder Sanya Richards in the 400 and former 800-meter Olympic champ Maria Mutola, who has been training in Berkeley. ... Bishop O'Dowd graduate Kelsey Barale, a senior at Carleton College in Minnesota, secured the final qualifying spot in the 3,000 steeplechase for the NCAA Division III championships. Barale will run Friday at Wisconsin-Oshkosh.