Steamboat Springs Delanie Vedepo didn't shout, celebrate or show any emotion. After flying across the finish line last week in the 800-meter run at a track meet in Rifle, she took a few steps and tried to regain her breath, then slowly stepped off the track.
There were no outward signs that the Hayden High School freshman had achieved yet another impressive milestone, one of several she's already reached in her short high school track career. There were no outward signs that Delanie Vedepo had just set another school record.
"I really didn't expect this," Vedepo said of her surprising season. "But it's great that it's happening."
Vedepo's breakthrough performances didn't come as a surprise to Hayden track coach Barbara Manzanares. The first-year coach took over the high school program this spring after coaching with the middle school track team for years, so she was well aware what the athletic Vedepo could do.
The freshman's success at Hayden is hard to match. The 800 was the second school record Vedepo has collected this season. She set the record in the 1,600-meter event April 5 at Eagle Valley High School, beating the previous mark by three seconds.
A week later, racing in Glenwood Springs, she clipped eight more seconds off her time for what was then a personal best of 5:42. She cut yet another second off that time last week at Rifle.
"She has the potential in the next several meets to shave off even more time," Manzanares said. "Last year, as an eighth-grader, she showed real potential, and now she's working hard with (distance) coach Jnl Linsacum."
Maybe Manzanares expected Vedepo to tear up the track from the start, but plenty of others were caught off guard. Vedepo herself, for instance, still isn't sure what to make of it all.
She's a true three-sport high school athlete, playing volleyball and naming basketball her all-around favorite sport. She has never focused on running.
She has never run cross-country or gone through extensive off-season training to hone her distance skills. Instead, her summer training was limited to a handful of unorganized runs.
"I should probably do more of that," she said of summer workouts, making her current success sound as easy as tying her shoes.
Vedepo entered the season's first meet with goals now rendered comical. She just wanted to beat her previous personal best in the 1,600 - a time of six minutes and 16 seconds that she ran in middle school.
Beating that time proved no problem. She bested it by 14 seconds and cut away at her time in the next two weeks before breaking the school record in just her fourth varsity meet.
Now that she's running times more than 30 seconds faster than her best from last year, she's raised her expectations a bit.
"I'd like to pre-qualify for state," said Vedepo, now two seconds shy of the required time. "If I made it, it would be something I'd remember the rest of my life. It'd be the icing on the cake."
There's plenty of reason to assume her time can only improve. Her training regimen is growing more focused as the end of the season approaches. The squad travels Saturday for the league meet at West Grand, then a week later for regionals in Grand Junction. The state meet looms May 16 and 17 in Pueblo.
If she doesn't make the qualifying time of 5:39, she still can earn a trip to state by finishing in the top three at Hayden's regional track meet, where the pace of the race just might help cut a few more seconds.
Running her current personal best, Vedepo would have placed ninth at last year's Class 2A state track meet. However, beating people, cutting seconds and counting time aren't the things that keep her piling up the laps, however.
"I've been doing track since sixth grade. I've always liked that it's not about beating the other teams, it's about beating myself," she said. "It's something I've excelled at, and I enjoy it."