Once again, the vote was close. But a late push in the final hours of the balloting helped send Villa Duchesne freshman cross country star Hannah Deines over the top, and into the spotlight as this week's Patch MVP "Athlete of the Week."
And it's such a deserving award for Deines, who shook off an up and down first high school running season, to finish in 8th place at the MSHSAA Class 3 state championship meet.
The Saints took fourth as a team, and a huge part of that was because Deines led her squad, by running the fastest time at the state meet of any runner from the St. Louis area.
Deines also figures to be one of the top newcomers to watch when the spring running season rolls around.
Through the great help of the folks over at Villa, Patch got to talk with Hannah. And here's just a little some of the other cool things we got to find out about the Week 12 Patch MVP of the Week, Hannah Deines:
Usually we ask upperclassmen their thoughts about college, but since you're just starting high school, we'd like to know, how have you enjoyed your first few months as a high schooler?
HD: I absolutely love it! I admit it was a difficult transition for me and my family at first, but now we are used to the schedule and everything is wonderful. Villa is such a wonderful community of girls.
When I came at the beginning of the year I hardly knew anyone, but everyone was welcoming and inviting, and I was instantly attached. Now, Villa is a huge part of my life and I don't know where I would be without it.
Tell us about your incredible running season this fall, when you competed almost exclusively against girls older than you, but still managed to run the best time of any St. Louis-area runner at last week's state championship meet.
HD: My season had many ups and downs. As a freshman, I didn't know what to expect, so I just ran. However, I did have a lot of prior racing experience since I had been running on the middle school level since fifth grade, so I think these experiences really helped me prepare myself for the season.
My faith and my church are also a huge part of it. My family a saying "Run for the One!", that One being Jesus. This saying really helps me to know that no matter how I race, I need to run it for God because He gave me all of my talents and abilities. My team was also another huge part of it. They are so supportive and they really help me to relax and get excited, but not too excited, because that wastes energy.
What is the favorite thing you like about being on your team?
HD: My team is truly awesome. We have so many different personalities that all mesh together into a huge family. That is what I really like most about our team. We all brought out the best in each others. We were always encouraging and having fun. We had so much fun together. We even started a dance party right before the Class 3 awards in the middle of the state meet.
I do have to say that this was the most fun cross country season I have ever had, and it isn't because I got 8th at state. It was all because of my team, family, friends, and coaches.
Now that the fall sports season is over, what will you do this winter?
HD: An interesting fact about me, is that I am a three-sport athlete. As well as running cross country and track, I play basketball. So, I am looking forward to a slight change in training as well as another chance to form a really strong bond with different people.
Tell us about your biggest fan. Who out there roots for you the hardest? And how does that make you feel?
HD: My family would have to be my biggest fans, because they support me in everything I do. To tell you honestly, I don't really know who roots the hardest, but I hear people throughout the race and hearing them makes me feel confident in myself, and also excited about racing and pushing myself to succeed.
Who are you a big fan of? Could be sports. movies, music, anything. Tell us about your most favorite person.
HD: I am a big fan of Ryan Hall. But I don't really have a favorite person, because I believe that everyone in this world brings a unique and different personality, so that one can't be favored above another.
Now tell us why you're such a big fan for Ryan Hall, the U.S. Olympic marathon runner and national record-holder in the half-marathon.
HD: I am a big fan of his because he brings a great Christian attitude to his sport.
What is the favorite tune in your I-Pod?
HD: This great song called "Runner" by Twila Paris.
Last question, if you could have dinner with any other three people -- alive, dead, real, or fictional -- who would they be? And why?
HD: I would have dinner with Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter), because I love animals and biology. I would also have dinner with Papa Smurf, because he is always and I am a big fan of the Smurfs. And I would have Ron Ben-Israel, the world-famous chef, make dessert because I have a huge sweet tooth.