Kelsey Dickey's focus is uncanny.
It's served her well on the cross country courses this season for the Walsh University Cavaliers.
The 2011 Lakeview High School graduate began the campaign with a first-place finish at the Ric Sayre Invitational - running in a time of 18 minutes, 37 seconds.
She then finished fifth out of a 26-team field at the National Catholic Meet in South Bend, Ind. - running a personal best time 18:35.5.
That earned her GLIAC Runner of the Week.
"I never expected to get GLIAC Runner of the Week," Dickey, a junior, said. "My coach texted me and I was like, 'Oh, really?' I went on the website and looked up the other runners that have got it. They're pretty fast, pretty talented runners, too. It was an honor to get the award. It's humbling to get it, too. I wouldn't have expected to get named GLIAC runner and get my name out there."
Walsh coach Rob Mizicko isn't surprised at Dickey's success.
"The work ethic is second to none," he said. "She's been able to slowly add the intensity and the volume to her training the last few years. You have a very motivated young lady. Then, she's been able to handle the stress load of what it takes to take that next step. Then, the result is what we're seeing right now - a huge improvement."
Maplewood High School graduate and former Walsh runner Lissa Yoder helped Dickey before running for the Cavaliers.
"Summer before I started running at Walsh, she had contacted me and we scheduled some runs together," Dickey said. "She very much served as a mentor for me - all through my freshman and sophomore years. She showed me through her example of hard work, dedication and love for the sport, what it takes to be great, not just trying to follow in her footsteps."
This season, she's blazed a trail for other Walsh runners to follow as the team's No. 1 runner.
"She's a natural leader," Mizicko said. "She's an education major. All those characteristics jump out in her leadership. It's one of those things that just happens on great teams, now especially with a great individual. They can pack up their running with great leadership skills."
Dickey just wants to be a better runner and keep improving her times.
"Honestly, I don't know if I've ever hit a plateau where I'm satisfied with where I'm at," she said. "There's always something to work for. There's always something to improve at. Last spring, I had some races where, 'Oh, I can do this.' Some hard work and some good workouts are trying to pay off. I started to run faster and feel good when I was running. From there, it's just been a constant progression. I just try to keep getting better. There's no point to where I've been satisfied or a plateau.
"I always want to improve times and get better."