Crazy can’t even begin to describe the year that Ferris junior distance runner Anna Rudd has had.
While Rudd was attending a funeral earlier in the year, she and her family received terrible news.
Rudd said, “We were at the funeral and you could hear surrounding sirens. My friend’s dad came up to us and said ‘What are you guys doing here? Your house is on fire!’”
Her parents’ house in Leslie had burned down; fortunately for the Rudds, nobody was hurt in the accident.
The community reached out to the Rudds and came together to offer the family food and clothes to help re-stock resources.
Several fundraisers were also put in place, and at the end, Meijer matched the earnings in a gesture of good faith.
“It was amazing how everyone came together to support us,” Rudd said. “I’m so grateful for all of the support for me and my family.”
Even during the hard times, Rudd was still recording fantastic finishes in her races.
This year, Rudd took fifth place in the women’s 5,000 meter at GVSU’s Big Meet, finished in first place in the mile run at GVSU’s Tune Up event and captured conference championships in the 3,000 meter run and the 5,000 meter run at the GLIAC Indoor Championships.
Former Bulldog All-American and current LaSalle University assistant track coach Tina Muir said, “From the moment Anna arrived at Ferris, it was obvious that she was going to be good. She had many of the important attributes needed to be successful in our sport: talent, good biomechanics, dedication and the determination to go after her goals.”
These performances qualified Rudd to participate in the NCAA DII Championships in Birmingham, Ala. for a chance to compete against the nation’s best.
Rudd, now four-time All-American, made Ferris State history in the process. Rudd was named the GLIAC Women’s Track Athlete of the Year and a regional nominee for the nation’s track athlete of the year.
Rudd became the second ever Bulldog to earn National Champion honors by winning the 5,000 meter run with a career best time of 16:28.18.
“I was shocked!” Rudd exclaimed. “I was seeded fourth, so I just tried to finish in the top four and the girls in front of me were really good. We were all really close and I just made it to the finish line first and was surprised. I think [Coach Steve Piccuci] was surprised too.”
Rudd, a nursing major, now deemed as a National Champion, will red-shirt this upcoming outdoor season so she can have all of her eligibility in three seasons of running during her senior year.
“I think it is a wonderful thing for Ferris to have Anna as a representation of the school. Not only is she a talented runner, but a lovely person who will go far in life itself,” Muir said. “Her success is meaning that Ferris State is becoming a well-known school within the track and field world and will attract many potential future athletes to the school to attempt to follow in her footsteps. She will go down as one of the greatest athletes Ferris State has ever had!”
Rudd proved to her teammates and family that fighting through adversity is possible with the right mind set and is now one of the most decorated athletes in Ferris history.