The 430-plus miles are a good indication that Megan Denzin was serious about her senior season.
That was the workout plan that East Valley coaches laid out for her when she said she wanted her last season to be her best. She wanted to break 20 minutes for 5,000 meters after finishing a distant 72nd at state as a junior with a time of just less than 21 minutes.
She did that handily and has kept attacking.
“I’ve never see such a transformation in a girl,” EV coach Shane Toy said. “It’s all about the quality of work she put in.”
Increased mileage isn’t unusual for a motivated runner, nor is new-found attention to diet. However, spinning is. And not just any spin, not the stationary bike during practice for an injured athlete kind of spinning.
Denzin attends the 5:30 a.m. health club spin class, the domain of out-of-shape old people.
“It helped with my speed, it gave me more fast-twitch,” she said of her unusual routine. “And it helped strengthen my legs. I recommend it for anyone with knee problems.”
Think of another high school athlete who would be out the door twice a week at such an unsightly dark and cold hour to do something so boring.
The cross country season made it easier.
“She went from average, to our top runner,” said Toy, who has been coaching 30 years. “It almost never happens, you don’t see girls go from average to great. I think she’s going to open some eyes.”
Denzin had a number of high-end finishes, including second to Cheney star Sanne Holland at the state qualifying meet.
“It was fun to beat people,” she admitted, especially those that had beaten her in past years.
Her time at state was 19:35, good for 25th. Pleasing, but not satisfying.
“If you don’t get a good start at state, it’s hard to catch up,” she said. “I had an off day.”
Another payoff was a partial scholarship to Oral Roberts, a campus she is familiar with because her grandparents live in Tulsa, Okla. Denzin, who has a 3.7 grade-point average, plans to study nursing.
Now that track has started, she hasn’t slowed down in training, continuing to spin at least once a week during the young season.
“Some days I’ll double cycling in the morning with long runs in the afternoon,” she said. “The more I did it, my body got used to it.”
Her first meet produced a personal record in the 3,200 (12:14) despite less than ideal conditions. Her next goal is within easy reach, breaking 12 minutes.
That’s just a comfortable spin for the motivated senior.
It’s been well-chronicled and obvious how poor the weather has been this spring, and the March ugliness moved at a sprinter’s pace into April.
Still, a couple of area athletes have posted impressive state-leading times and marks.
Mead’s Wes Bailey has state bests in the 100 meters (10.64 seconds), 200 (21.44) and 400 (48.04). His hopes of posting all-time best times in the 200 and 400 appear hopeful considering there’s seven weeks left before state and there’s bound to be a day or sunshine, no?
Bailey also was part of Mead’s 400 relay that has the top time statewide (42.94).
Aaron Castle of Newport, who set a State 1A meet record last year (63 feet, 1 inch), had another personal best in the shot put (64-7). Castle has signed with the University of Arizona.
Joshua Syrotchen of Lewis and Clark is leads the state in the discus (168-4).
Mead’s boys captured back-to- back state titles before finishing runner-up last year, four points behind Kent-Meridian. Panthers coach John Mires expects his team to be in the hunt again this spring. He believes Greater Spokane League duals and a few invitationals will be good preparation. “In our league you have to be up for big-time competition,” Mires said. … GSL teams had their first league duals last week before taking this week off for spring break. Duals next week will be on Thursday with Ferris and Rogers at Gonzaga Prep; University and Mead at Shadle Park; North Central at Mt. Spokane; and Lewis and Clark at Central Valley. The meets begin at 3:30. … The 51st annual Pasco Invite is April 14. … The first area honor roll can be found in the Scoreboard.