Carly Mohns reflects on her Iowa career ahead of senior day. Dargan Southard / The Register
IOWA CITY, Ia. — The road has certainly been a winding one for Carly Mohns, whose college career has been anything but simple. One knee surgery morphed into six. Her body finally waved the white flag.
Although one year of eligibility remains, Mohns will be ending her Iowa career after this season. The redshirt junior will go through senior day ceremonies after Saturday’s game against Indiana, and will graduate in the spring with a sport and recreation management degree.
Her Hawkeye tenure hasn’t unfolded as expected, but she’ll exit Iowa City as a prime example of perseverance and determination.
“She’s such a trooper,” junior Megan Gustafson said. “To be able to go through what she’s gone through here at Iowa, I can’t even fathom what that’s like. She’s been so strong through it all. She’s never had a negative attitude ever, which is amazing to see despite what she’s gone through.
“She’s always the one bringing energy — she’s probably the funniest person I know. She’s hilarious and always joking around. She’s someone who’s always been there as a steady force no matter what happens. She’s able to bring our team together and keep us positive. It’s really inspiring to see what she’s done here.”
After tearing the ACL in her left knee as a prep sophomore, Mohns played in 14 games as a college freshman before things worsened. She underwent season-ending surgery on Dec. 17 of her sophomore season, but things never really progressed the way she hoped.
Mohns played in only five games as a redshirt sophomore as more surgeries ensued. Six operations on the same knee gets to be quite draining.
“My sophomore year here is when it kind of all began as a Hawkeye,” Mohns said. “It was my meniscus, then a microfracture, some cartilage stuff — a lot of cartilage and meniscus stuff.
“Obviously, it takes a mental toll on you and your body. But just being able to rethink things — come out with a positive attitude instead of being negative — and being able to have a motivation to push and keep working toward a goal I think was big for me. Just having the people who surrounded me and support me helped too.”
Eventually, though, Mohns knew this season was likely her last. She said there was still knee pain at the beginning of the year — pain that will likely never fully subside. Iowa coach Lisa Bluder referred to the current campaign as Mohns’ senior season multiple time throughout the year.
She picked a good season to end on. Desperately shorthanded to begin conference play, the Hawkeyes leaned on Mohns in a pinch. She’s listed as a forward on Iowa’s official roster, but with guards Tania Davis and Makenzie Meyer sidelined in early January, Bluder turned to Mohns for some backcourt depth. After the Hawkeyes opened Big Ten play with a win over Wisconsin, she poured in nine crucial bench points as Iowa upset then-No. 19 Michigan.
The following week, Mohns was rewarded with her first career starts against Purdue and Nebraska.
“She was playing out of position for us, but that’s Carly,” Bluder said. “She’s going to do whatever it takes to help the team.”
Mohns hopes to stay connected with the athletic world moving forward She’ll intern in the facilities department at Carver-Hawkeye Arena this spring, with hopes of eventually cracking the coaching ranks.
Should that become Mohns’ future, she won’t have to look far for a teaching moment on handling adversity.
“She’s been through so much, and she is the picture of courage and perseverance,” Bluder said. “Her teammates love her because she has given so much to the team and hasn’t gotten a whole lot in return.
“I think that’s really hard to do when you’re an athlete, playing in pain every day. She’s been doing that for us for four years, so I’m very, very thankful for her and the example she’s given our team.”
Dargan Southard covers preps, recruiting, Iowa and UNI athletics for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.