“No matter how she does, we will always be proud of her,” Helen said. “We just try to instill that into her.”
“Both of us want it to stay fun for her, because if you’re not enjoying it, you can’t be your best,” K.C. notes.
K.C. and Helen were fixtures at every one of Deanna’s meets in high school. Now that she is halfway across the country, they’ll get to only two or three meets a year. On meet days, Helen is scouring tweets and refreshing the live results every few minutes.
“I’m usually on my snowboard somewhere, holding my breath,” K.C. said.
No matter what
Deanna tells a story about competing in the pentathlon at the NCAA indoor championship last March. She opened in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.34 seconds, her personal-best and tied for second in the field of 16. She struggled, however, in the high jump, clearing 5 feet, 4.25 inches, and the shot put (37’ 4.0’’).
“It was over for me,” Deanna recalled. Between events, she met up with her mother, and out came the magical words.
“My mother looked at me in the eye and said, ‘Your father and I are so proud of you.’ They just have big hearts. Just knowing at the end of the day, they’re proud of me no matter what, makes all the difference.”
Deanna ended that day with a leap of 19’ 6.75’’ in the long jump and running the 800 meters – her mother’s event – in 2:22.77. She compiled 4,066 points – her best pentathlon total yet – to place 11th, good enough for All-America Second Team honors.
“I think the biggest thing about my parents is how they have helped me mentally,” Deanna said. “I’ve seen kids whose parents are distracting them more than they’re pushing them. But my parents have guided me.