Champions of Character: Ben Cutler - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Champions of Character: Ben Cutler

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HELENA -

"It was really tough to have a part of that, something that's a part of your identity die off really quickly," said Carroll relay runner Ben Cutler.

They say one the most powerful motivators in the world is hope. Sometimes it's all you can cling to. For Ben Cutler, hope and faith, kept him going.

"It's a challenge, it really is," said Cutler. "'Cause I mean you want to just reflect on how much it sucks but a really important key for me is to bring some strength from God. He gives me strength everyday."

In December of 2012, during his senior year of playing basketball for the Carroll Saints, Ben Cutler tore his ACL ending his basketball career. A two way athlete, Ben also had to give up his track and field career. He could have ended it there, but it wasn't up to him.

"It was kind of one of those doors that it's only open for so long in your life, you know, to compete at a college level," said Cutler. "So I think it was just trying to seize the moment and try and give as much glory to God as I could with the talents he's given me."

Fast forward a year and a half, along with a ton of hard work and rehab, and Ben is back with the Carroll Saints track and field team. A feat that his coach knows, wasn't always guaranteed.

"This is one of those that are really iffy on coming back from," said Saints track and field head coach Harry Clark. "But he did his due diligence. He worked his butt off to get back to where he is now. A lot of these kids you see that's a career ender. And he didn't let that be a career ender."

"Work ethic has always been really high at the top of the attributes that I wanted to have as an individual and that's huge," said Cutler. "That's always the way I learned that you get things that you want. You have to work hard for them."

That hard work didn't end with rehab either. An injury like Ben's can be physiologically damaging as much as it is physically. Learning to trust his knee again, that was when Ben knew he had won.

"I'd say through the rehab it wasn't so much in the forefront of my mind," remembers Cutler. "I kind of repressed it a little bit. But once I started competing indoor, actually competing against athletes that are super high level, that's where it started to take effect for me I think. Indoor was kind of a steady process of trying to get over that hump of 'I can do this. I can do this. I've done all the rehab, I can trust this knee, it's strong, it's good.'"

Using this fall's indoor track season to get himself back to 100 percent, Ben finally saw his hard work pay off in his first race of the outdoor season.

"Yes, yes it's the first race that I've won yeah," said a smiling Cutler. "And how does that feel? It feels really good. And that was something that had happened before the injury too was winning lots of races so it's definitely something that's nice to get back to because you're out there to win, that's the whole point of sports. You're trying to win."

One win down, and Ben is just getting started.

"Got some momentum going and try to keep that going through every workout everyday, through every lift, through every race, so just trying to constantly get better and better and get the ball rolling cause it's starting to click again," says a determined Cutler.

Ben is not only back to where he used to be, but he's past that. He's stronger. And all it took was hard work, faith, and a little hope.

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