It’s been nearly a calendar year since Random Lake senior cross country standout Delaney Sinnen lost a race, and people across the state are starting to forget what it looks like.
Ask first-year head coach Stephanie Ohme how Sinnen handles finishing lower than first and her response is quick and to the point.
“I don’t know,” Ohme said. “I’ve never seen it.”
But while others might not remember, Sinnen certainly does. And it’s what has been driving her ever since.
“It was at State last year. I took third. That was the last time,” Sinnen said. “I think overall, (what’s pushing me is) the ultimate goal of being state champ. I think that’s what’s kind of been driving me this whole season.”
Before this year Sinnen hardly did any offseason training, but knowing she had a shot at a WIAA Division 3 state title pushed her to work harder than ever before, and the results are showing — she has won every race she’s been in so far, heading into Saturday’s sectional meet at Sheboygan Lutheran.
“I worked hard all summer,” Sinnen said. “I never trained during the summer in previous years, so when I knew I could be a state champion, I think it drove me to start earlier and do more stuff than I did seasons before.”
Ohme welcomed Sinnen’s focused approach as Ohme attempted to get her bearings in a new coaching gig.
“It helps having someone as good as her, because not only is she motivated, but others see that too and get that sense. She is such a great example, a nice leader,” Ohme said. “I was actually really, really excited (by the prospect of coaching her). I knew she of course had high goals and was of that caliber where she wanted to win and be successful.”
But to Sinnen, success isn’t just about beating her opponents. Not only is she driven to run faster than her opposition, but every time she steps to the starting line, she hopes to beat herself.
“I go for time in every race. When I know that I am farther ahead (than everyone else), I know I have to go for a new (personal record),” said Sinnen, who set her personal record of 14 minutes, 24 seconds in a late September event in Oshkosh. “A (personal record) at the beginning of the season was great. That’s what’s made me look back and say I could (win state).”
It’s a season that has garnered Sinnen attention from several Big Ten schools. Ohme, who ran cross country for UW-La Crosse, said she thinks Sinnen will be a great college runner. She raves about Sinnen’s form being graceful and fluid while coming up speechless when asked to describe Sinnen’s stride.
Before Sinnen can begin to focus on collegiate running, though, she faces a sectional course she’s conquered twice already this season — earlier this month at the Sheboygan County Invitational where she won in 14:57 and then again at last week’s Central Lakeshore Conference Meet where she was first in 14:35. Then comes the Nov. 2 state race she’s been waiting all this time for.
“I’m really happy with how (the season is) going so far,” Sinnen said. “I want to live up to my expectations. I think it’s because that’s pretty much what you work for all season. It’s why you come to practice every day. It’s to achieve your goals.”