By: John Raffel
St. Patrick athlete ends career as state champion
Annie Gunderman finished her track career at Portland St. Patrick exactly the way she wanted to.
“After finishing ninth in the state as a freshman, Annie set a goal to finish as state champion in the 400-meter dash before she graduated,” coach Dawn Fedewa said. “Each year, she was able to get a little closer to that goal, finishing sixth as a sophomore and third as a junior. Her win this year as a senior was a fitting and perfect end to a tremendous career at St. Patrick.”
Gunderman at the state meet, Division 4, was first in the 400 (59.59), sixth in the 200 (27.03) and ninth as the anchor of the 4x400 relay
“Annie is a very tough competitor with an amazing work ethic,” Fedewa said. “She’s able to stay mentally strong even when a race becomes uncomfortable. Annie moved up from third as a junior to state champion as a senior in the 400. She also improved from 10th to sixth in the 200.
“Annie ran the 800 and 4x800 several times this year. Not only did she set school records in both, but the longer distances helped her strength in the 200 and 400. Annie is an exceptional competitor and teammate, always putting her teammates first and wishing her competitors well before a race and congratulating them after.”
Gunderman is now getting ready for a collegiate sports career at Saginaw Valley State University.
“Annie is always working toward becoming a better athlete,” Fedewa said. “As a SVSU recruit, she is now turning her attention toward making the shift from high school to collegiate competition.”
Gunderman also played basketball and volleyball at St. Patrick.
“Though her talents will be missed at St. Pat's, leaving as the school record holder in the 400, 800, 4x200, 4x400 and 4x800, Annie's career isn't over yet,” Fedewa said. “Saginaw Valley State is gaining a talented, hard working athlete and we're excited to see her compete at the next level.
“Annie’s 13 points at this year’s state meet helped the team finish in 11 place, the highest finish in recent memory.”
Gunderman was pleased with her career.
“It was a goal of mine to finish as a state champion in the 400-meter dash before I graduated and I am very excited that I could end my senior season with this goal completed,” she said. “I think that becoming mentally tough and being able to push past comfort zones is a huge factor in my accomplishments. Being part of such a supportive and encouraging team definitely helped with confidence and being able to push past those comfort zones.
“This year I was able to compete in the 800 and 4x800. I was able to set school records in both and gain strength for my other events. I believe I have become more mentally tough and focused than previous years, knowing it was my last year and battling injuries. My most memorable moments would be becoming state champion in the 400 this year and being able to compete with all the girls I had became friends with over the last four years one last time.”