Dropping time one mile at a time at Gonzaga

Kentwood graduate Danny Lunder can’t get enough of running.

Danny Lunder can’t get enough of running.

Lunder, who graduated from Kentwood in 2012 and will start his sophomore year at Gonzaga University in the fall, started running in elementary school and hasn’t stopped. At Gonzaga he is a member of the cross country and indoor and outdoor track teams.

“I started (running) in elementary school,” Lunder said. “I went out for the track team because I saw most other people were doing it and I started doing it and I fell in love with it.”

Lunder also played soccer while growing up, playing on select teams, but his junior year he decided to give it up to focus on track at Kentwood.

“It definitely came to a point where I had to choose,” Lunder said.

Lunder said it became impossible to juggle the time commitments of both sports. He was also drawn to the family atmosphere of the Kentwood track team.

“It was also the team as well,” Lunder said. “A lot of the people who did track and cross country, I really like them, it’s like a second family.”

At the state meet for cross country the fall of his senior year Lunder ran the 5K in 16:04 and finished 77th overall. At the track and field state meet in the spring of that year he competed in the 800 meters and finished with a time of 1:56.90, just under his time of 1:56.5 at the district meet the week before.

At Gonzaga Lunder is studying science and economics and is considering the possibility of law school.

“(I’m) not exactly sure, just keeping my options open right now,” Lunder said.

One similarity Lunder said he’s found between the track and cross country teams at Kentwood and Gonzaga is that family atmosphere that drew him to the sport at Kentwood.

“Track people, no matter where you are in the country, they’re really like family,” Lunder said.

Lunder also considered University of Washington and the University of Rochester but he decided on Gonzaga because he wanted to be challenged academically and he also wanted to do well on the track and cross country teams and be challenged and inspired by his teammates. Lunder said he wasn’t quite fast enough to run at UW and there was more running competition for him at Gonzaga.

“It went well,” Lunder said of his freshman year. “I PR’d quite a bit.”

Lunder said he improved his 5K time to 15:01. He also explained that at the college level the 5K is run on a track instead of a trail.

“There’s a lot of people right around my level and that helped me improve so much,” Lunder said. “I’d say there’s two things: the expectation and then there’s the atmosphere. In college there’s people who compete with you every day. The expectation goes hand in hand with that. With that (the competition) there’s the higher expectations.”

At a track meet in April Lunder finished first in the 1,500 meters, surprising many with the win given he was seeded 12th, and finished with a winning time of 4:01.3.

This coming school year Lunder said that he wants to continue to improve and his goal is to break 25 minutes in the 8,000 meter cross country event.

“Last year I did 25 and this coming year I want to break 25 minutes and get down to around 24:30,” Lunder said.

For Lunder one of the things he loves about the sport is that much of it is mind over matter and it’s overcoming yourself.

“I think that’s one of the biggest motivating factors of running—trying to overcome hurdles and putting your mind to it.”