Deysha Smith-Jenkins summed up her senior season succinctly.
"It's been pretty ugly," she said.
The Whitefish Bay Dominican standout, a three-time state champion, has been slowed by hamstring problems in both legs, injuries that forced her to miss the Midwest Classic Conference meet last month and caused her to pass on running the 400 meters in the postseason.
She will, however, defend her titles in the Division 2 100 and 200 at the WIAA state track and field meet, which will be held Friday and Saturday at UW-La Crosse. Based on what Dominican coach Ajamu Olaniyan has seen this week, Smith-Jenkins is poised to shine.
"Her times (Tuesday) were phenomenal," he said.
Before Smith-Jenkins' recent recovery, you'd have to go back to early April to find the last time she was healthy. She ran her season best in the 100 (12.14 seconds) and 200 (24.74) at the Dino Dash at Milwaukee King on April 11. A week later, she injured her hamstring at Brookfield East and later injured the other hamstring because of overcompensating for the first injury.
It wasn't until the 200 at the Kewaskum Sectional that Olaniyan let Smith-Jenkins go full throttle.
"It felt good to run the 200 without holding back, without worrying about pulling anything," she said. "But then I slowed down at the end because it felt weird because I hadn't gone 100% in a while."
Unlike most of the area's top athletes, Smith-Jenkins hasn't spent her summers and off-season training. She played basketball and was a first-team Division 3 all-state pick by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association the past two seasons.
Her legacy could be more lasting in track, though. Not only does she have a chance of breaking her 200 record of 24.64, but she has her eye on the 100 record of 11.99 Milwaukee North's Tasha Allen set in 2008.
"I'm feeling really good," she said. "I am definitely trying to go for that 200 record, and Tasha has had that 100 record for too long. . . . That's what I'm aiming for."