Whereas the West Ottawa ladies cross nation workforce was on the run within the offseason and the start of the autumn season, Kaia Denhof was not.

A number of leg accidents had pressured her to cease operating whereas she was going by means of the therapeutic course of, so the West Ottawa junior needed to discover different methods to remain in form.

“I knew I had a stress fracture and I noticed I might not soar, which was a giant deal, particularly in monitor season,” Denhof stated. “It was onerous. I used to be figuring out cross coaching on my own. That’s actually onerous if you end up by your self. I knew I used to be doing it for my teammates.”

The onerous work paid off as Denhof helped the Panthers repeat as OK Pink Convention and Division 1 regional champions. She completed tenth within the area at 19 minutes, 28.98 seconds.

However not like final season, the No. 2 Panthers gained in dominating vogue as an alternative of by a handful of factors. Denhof was tenth however fourth on her workforce.

“It was a fairly large deal to win that in back-to-back years,” Denhof stated. “It’s actually cool to see our onerous work repay, to see what we’re doing is making a giant distinction.”

Denhof was ready to do this with out operating in apply for a lot of the yr. She was bike using, and doing a wide range of different cross-training workouts that didn’t put the identical stress on her therapeutic legs.

“I cross-trained onerous. I used to be doing every little thing I might to organize,” she stated. “I had fixed assist from my coaches and teammates. Each time I obtained again type a motorcycle trip, they have been asking how I used to be doing.”

West Ottawa coach Kyle Barnes stated it has been troublesome to look at Denhof undergo so many accidents — a stress fracture in her left femur, then a stress response in her left shin.

“She has been riddled with accidents,” Barnes stated. “That’s actually hectic for a woman who is de facto proficient. We needed to rebuild her physique and operating type. That was the ‘aha’ second for her. Now she runs extra effectively and with much less influence on her legs.

“(Two weeks in the past) was the primary full exercise she did all season. She simply ran 19:20 and she or he hadn’t performed a single exercise in the course of the season. That’s unbelievable.”

Denhof ran a couple of meets in the course of the yr however was not capable of end all of them. However she slowly regained her energy and commenced ending — and ending quick.

“I dropped out of lots of meets with the intention to keep wholesome,” she stated. “The primary race I accomplished was a cool feeling as a result of I had lastly ran a 5K. I knew I had extra in me once I crossed the end line.”

Denhof is hoping that “extra in me” is unleashed on the Division 1 state meet on Friday at Michigan Worldwide Speedway.

“We’ve got all stepped it up from final yr and embraced shared struggling much more,” she stated. “We’re simply excited to see what we will really do. We could have lots of competitors and we’re excited.”

— Contact Sports activities Editor Dan D’Addona at Dan.D’Addona@hollandsentinel.com. Comply with him on Twitter @DanDAddona and Fb @Holland Sentinel Sports activities.

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