RED BUD — With her outgoing personality and a warm smile, its hard to imagine Red Bud High School junior Deanna Deterding spending much time alone.
But during the 2013 cross country season, Deterding spent many afternoons at courses running alone.
At times, Deterding was to fast for her own good.
"We were running at a meet in St. Louis and it was being videotaped," said Red Bud coach Bob Ashley. "In watching it being replayed one day, there was a long pause and all of a sudden the guy doing the voice-over was talking about the No. 2 and No. 3 runners coming into view. Deanna was the No. 1 runner and she was so far ahead of the field that she was past the point where the video was being shot.''
The dominant Class 1A runner in the metro-east, Deterding won 11 times this fall. Among her major accomplishments were championships in the Cahokia Conference and regional and sectional meets. Deterding capped her season with an eighth-place finish at the Class 1A State Cross Country Meet last month at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
The eighth-place finish is the highest in Musketeers cross country history and earns Deterding the 2013 Belleville News-Democrat Class 1A Runner of the Year honor.
The runner of the year honor is the second straight for a Red Bud athlete. Brittney Burmester, tenth in the 2012 state finals, won last year.
Deterding's rise as one of the best in the state has been a three-year journey. A soccer player turned runner as a freshman, Deterding admits to having second thoughts about the sport. At least in the beginning.
"I find it fun now. But honestly, my freshman year, I was not going to run,'' Deterding said. " The first day of practice I came out and just really liked it. Of course, coach Ashley and my family were there to support me."
Deterding spent the first season learning about the sport, then spent last year running behind Burmester as the Musketeers flourished with one of the top 1-2 punches around.
Deterding finished 35th in the state finals in 2012.
"Having Brittney (Burmester) to run with last year helped me a lot. It pushed me to be able to stay with her. We finished 1-2 in a lot of the meets we ran,'' Deterding said. " It was good for our team obviously and it helped me run faster.''
It also made Deterding more determined. This summer alone, Deterding put in 400 miles of training. Between now and the start of track and field season, she will average 45 to 50 miles per week.
"The summer after my freshman year, I tried to run. But I just couldn't get that motivated or excited about it. Then I realized that I was good and that I could do something in running. I kept getting faster and, I don't know, maybe break some records or something,'' Deterding said. "My goals were to win a medal this year and break 18 minutes. I was able to get both.''
Although not pushed often at local level, Deterding was challenged by Althoff senior Savannah Ames on a couple occasions. Deterding also challenged herself when she oftern ran alone.
"I wasn't concerned that I hadn't really been pushed much. I could also run against the clock,'' Deterding said. "Each time I would try to run faster. I wanted to break 18 minutes and I didn't run my best time (17:36) until late in the year. Next year, I want to break 17 minutes.
"Yes, that's realistic. I also want to finish in the top five.
What may not be realistic is winning the state title as a senior. Effingham St. Anthony's Anna Sophi Keller will be a heavy favorite to defend her title next season.
But to challenge for a top-five spot, Deterding knows she must improve her speed.
"My kick isn't the best. I like to keep a nice steady pace when I run,'' Deterding said. "I'm working on getting stronger and this summer I will try to do more speed work.''
Deterding will run the 1,600- and 3,200-meter events this spring as a member of the Red Bud track team.
As for college, Deterding has no idea.
"I know I want to go to college and I want to compete,'' Deterding said. "I'd like to go to a college in Illinois. I wouldn't mind going out of state, but it needs to be close to home. I want to be able to come back on weekends.''