BROOMFIELD - This much is certain about Legacy junior Brynn Siles: She never relents once she hits the ground running.
"The hardest thing for her is to get her to slow down when she needs to," Lightning cross country coach DJ Hummel said of the area's fastest junior.
"She has one gear. All out."
The junior's desire to be fast -- fast for herself and fast for teammates - certainly has served to her betterment during a high school career that has drawn national acclaim just two years in. But as last year showed, it has led to her anguish, too.
Siles followed up her dazzling debut as a freshman with a dominant sophomore campaign that saw her win every race she competed in - including the Centaurus Invitational, where she had to backtrack to pick up the timing chip that had fallen off her shoe and still beat all competition by 46 seconds. As well as the Liberty Bell, where she set a personal best time of 17:29 and defeated fellow-class phenom Jenna Fitzsimmons of Mountain Vista by 18 seconds.
But just two weeks out from making a run at a Class 5A title in Colorado Springs, knee pain popped up and progressively got worse for Siles. It eventually shelved her for the pinnacle race.
In hindsight, Siles, who took seventh at state as a freshman, could have taken it a bit easier on the knee leading up to her return to state - especially in the regional meet she won by 20 seconds a week prior. She said her focus was to help her team land a state berth, which the Lightning did for the first time since 2014 with a third-place finish at regionals.
"I didn't want to not do everything I could," Siles said.
Now, whether she could have raced at state if she'd gone easier in the weeks leading up would be a guess by anybody. The damage had been done. Siles couldn't stride out in warmups at state and was forced to bow out. Doctors later diagnosed the injury to be to her iliotibial band in the knee, which required physical therapy and several weeks of recovery.
Devastated and emotional, Siles cheered her teammates around the state course that day and then set her eyes onto the future.
"I was kind of disappointed and I was crying a lot," she said. "But I guess it made me more driven to get back to where I was and try to do as well as I could in state track."
In the spring, Siles was right back among the top distance runners as she ended the track season at state with a second-place finish in the 5A 3,200 to Fitzsimmons as well as a seventh-place finish in the 1,600.
Her coach said he thinks Siles will have another strong outing this fall - hopefully, with a better ending.
"Brynn is focused this season on the competition aspect of it - win races and go for that state championship," Hummel said. "We are optimistic she'll have a good season and continue to dominate, or at least try to."
She knows no other way.
Brent W. New: , firstname.lastname@example.org