This Lady Jay will be leaving paw prints in Columbia starting in the fall.
Washington senior track and cross country athlete Anna Sullentrup has committed to continue her running career at the collegiate level for the University of Missouri.
“I have always kind of thought I would be going to Mizzou because I am hoping to study medicine eventually and hopefully become an orthopedic surgeon,” Sullentrup said. “Dr. James Cook is a doctor in their research division at the Missouri Orthopedic Institute there at Mizzou, and he’s been an awesome mentor to me for the past five years or so and just really shaped what I want to do as a career. So, I’ve always known educationally that I would like to go to Mizzou and just the fact that I can run there is awesome. It’s the best of both worlds for me.”
Sullentrup ended her high school cross country career this fall, having been a member of three-consecutive Washington cross country teams to run as a whole at the state competition.
“I think that just being part of this incredible team and being able to put a banner up on the wall for third place at state and to be a part of the legacy that we’ve started here at Washington that hopefully will continue to build in the future,” Sullentrup said. “We have a really strong girls program here and hopefully that will just keep building.”
Those teams finished sixth, third and fifth in the state in Class 4 respectively in 2015, 2016 and 2017. She and her cross country teammates won a district title for the first time her senior year.
Sullentrup posted her best run at the state event in 2016, finishing 83rd with a time of 20:18.24.
“She’s the kind of person you can depend on to do everything you ask of her,” cross country and track Head Coach Mike Olszowka said. “She started with us as a sprinter and a jumper and we explained to her that we thought she had a lot of talent in the future to be a distance runner and she bought into it. It’s the same way that she handles everything in her life. Everything is 100 percent and she’s going to do the best she can no matter what.”
Before beginning her career at Mizzou, Sullentrup still has one more season to go with Washington’s track and field squad in the spring.
Last spring, she was a member of Washington’s 3,200-meter relay team that along with Mikayla Reed, Colleen Kuchem and Morgan Holdmeyer finished fifth in the state in Class 4.
“That was a really big one for us,” Sullentrup said. “That was something that everyone had been hoping to accomplish since freshman year and just to see that come to fruition last year and we ended up being fifth in the state. I think we would like to build upon that this spring and take a run at a state championship in that event.”
Sullentrup isn’t the only member of the team going to Mizzou. Reed has committed to run for the Tigers as well.
That will continue one of the many teammate relationships that Sullentrup said have been one of the best parts of her varsity career.
“Every single day, being able to come to practice and run with your best friends is an incredible thing,” she said. “I’m just really lucky to have been a part of such a great team with such terrific coaches because I didn’t start running until my sophomore year. I don’t know if I ever would have stuck with it if I hadn’t been a part of such an incredible environment, so I’m very lucky for the people around me.”
New relationships among her collegiate teammates is something Olszowka said would be one of Sullentrup’s strong suits.
“I think the biggest thing she brings to Mizzou is the thing that saves us,” Olszowka said. “She’s going to bring a big smile every day. She’s going to fit in with those girls. ...She’s going to fill a spot up there with her personality and with her work ethic that any college team would be happy to (have).”
The Mizzou women’s cross country team finished fourth in the Midwest region this past fall. The women’s track team ranked fifth in the NCAA Division 1 Program of the Year Standings in spring 2017.