The miles accounted for are in the hundreds, most of them coming with the alarm set for around 5 a.m., while the amount of laps in the pool over the course of the season would require a car to get an oil change.
All of the hard work paid off last weekend when most fall sports came to end with state championships as cross country, swim and dive and volleyball concluded its season by Monday.
Area teams and individuals fared well for the most part.
Here is a recap of each sport:
The cross country state championship meet included a ravine under water, a reconfigured course, a one-hour delay and a coyote sighting.
It wasn't the typical year at Cave Creek Golf Course the first weekend in November.
There was, however, one constant - Desert Vista boys and girls cross country pushing for a state team title.
Both programs continued their string of success by finishing second in the Division I state meet as the boys finished second to Highland and the girls were behind Xavier.
The boys finished behind Highland, 86-123, as junior Carter Macey finished seventh overall and sixth in the team race with a time of 16 minutes, 11.82 seconds and Ryan Dysktra was 13th overall (12th in team) with a time of 16:23.31 to earn medals.
"We ran about as good of a race as we could," Desert Vista coach Chris Hanson said. "Highland deserves it because they beat us when we were at our best. We are aware of our competitors, but we focus on ourselves."
Because of the rain that pounded the area, the course had to be altered because the ravine that the competitors usually run through between mile 1 and mile 2 was deemed unsafe after it filled with water.
It eventually dried up, but the soil was soft and, therefore, the course was changed. It was still 3.1 miles, but one of the major hills was taken out of the equation.
"It definitely affected the race, but it didn't affect us," Hanson said. "We didn't care what course we ran. We could have run in the desert or in the jungle, it wouldn't have mattered. We were ready and as prepared as we could be."
Desert Vista was led by junior Jenna Maack, who came in fifth (6th overall) in the team race with a time of 18:41.81, and she was backed by junior Brittany Tretbar (10th overall, 19:03.08) and freshman Dani Jones, who was 17th overall with a time of 19.29.84.
Junior Natalie Krafft (22nd, 19:41.10) and sophomore Lauran Owens (34th, 20:15.86) rounded out the Thunder's top five.
Maack's return to prominence was the story for the Thunder as she was a dependable runner as freshman, kind of disappeared to the bottom of the pecking orders last season, but along with Tretbar became Desert Vista's leader.
"Here is a kid that knows what it is like to miss something," Thunder coach Doug Christofis said. "They say you don't realize what you have until it is gone. Freshman year she was in my top and then last year she wasn't even in my top 10. That's shows a lot of heart."
Maack is unsure of what happened a year ago, but it doesn't really matter now.
"I tried to stay positive, but I am not really sure what was wrong," she said. "I was trying really hard, but now it is behind me."
Mountain Pointe's lone participant was junior Cera Hassinan, who finished 27th in Division I with a time of 19:58.31.
In Division IV, Horizon Honor's Mikaela Martin finished second individually as the sophomore finished the 3.1-mile course in 19 minutes and 54.17 seconds. It was just about a full minute behind Pusch Ridge champion Sarah MacDonald, who clocked an 18:55.28.
The great effort put the sophomore in a position to be hungry to take the next step in 2012.
"I was trying to finish between five and 10," she said. "It feels really good. I started really fast my first mile, and kind of slowed down, but then I kicked it back in."
The Eagles boys team qualified and had a good showing as the finished 12th and were led by senior Galen Geislinger, who finished 25th with a time of 17:56.19.
"I wanted to finish in the top 14 (to get a medal)," Geislinger said. "I am happy with the way I ran, but disappointed I didn't get the medal."
Horizon Honors was seeded fourth in the Division IV state tournament, but the Eagles were unable to get back the state quarterfinals after falling to Sedona Red Rock, 25-11, 25-19, 22-25, 25-21.
Eighth-seeded Mountain Pointe also had its season come to an end in the quarterfinals. The Pride fell, 20-25, 25-20, 25-22 and 25-8 to top-seeded Mountain Ridge.
Clara Jenck didn't have an easy time at the state swim meet Saturday, but you wouldn't know that if you just saw the results.
The Mountain Pointe junior won the 100 backstroke and was third in the 200 freestyle on a successful day in the water for the Ahwatukee schools at Skyline Aquatic Center in Mesa.
"You just have to push the turns and the underwaters and pick up the tempo," Jenck said in rallying for the 100 backstroke win. "The turns always get me, I'm really bad at turns."
Jenck won the 100 back in 56.51, 1.05 seconds ahead of Talie Anchustegui of Xavier and 1.17 seconds in front of Pinnacle freshman phenom Victoria Toris.
Jenck was third in the 200 free behind double-winner Kat Simonovic of Mountain View and Tucson Rincon freshman Briana Leverenz. Jenck clocked 1:52.27 in the 200 free, 3.28 seconds behind Simonovic.
"Winning is nice, but I'm mostly concerned about the time, whoever wins out there, they deserved it," Jenck said.
The Pride girls team finished 10th with 84 points. Xavier won its 13th straight state title, as expected.
Desert Vista was fifth overall with 149 points despite not having a swimmer finish any better than third.
Thunder junior Mary Geavaras led the way, finishing third in the 50 free with a time of 24.40, 1.31 seconds behind the winner, and sixth in the 100 breaststroke.
Sophomore Emily Ankeney was seventh in the 50 free in 25.02. Cecelia Kowalski, a freshman at DV, was sixth the 500 free a little more than 10 seconds off the pace.
The 200 freestyle relay team of Ankeney, Madeline Nichols, Halle Wilson and Geavaras was third behind Xavier and Red Mountain.
In the boys meet, Mountain Pointe was seventh with 108 points and Desert Vista 15th with 39 points.
Also as expected, Brophy Prep won the team title for the 24th consecutive year, scoring 412 points.
Ben Fitch of Mountain Pointe was third in the 200 free, clocking in at 1:42.86, not far behind Lukas Williams (1:42.59) and Chris Webb (1:39.60), both of Brophy. He was also third in the 500 free, again behind Williams and Webb. Fitch was 15 seconds behind winner Webb.
Fitch also anchored the Pride's 200 free relay team that finished fifth. The team includes Connor Engelmann, Julian Enriquez and Filemon Scooler. Fitch led off on the 400-free relay team that also finished fifth.
The Thunder 200 free relay team of Cole Miller, Dietrich Benz, Sean Chester and Mark Young also won the consolation final in their event.
Freelance writer Al Bravo contributed to this story.
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