ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Anna Hulstedt signs a Letter of Intent to run Track and Cross Country at Grace College.

By Anne Eickstadt

Anna Hulstedt was joined by family, friends, classmates, coaches, and teammates as she committed herself to run cross-country and track at Grace College, Winona Lake, Indiana.

Her time at Belvidere North contained four very busy years. She is a three-sport athlete, participating in cross-country, track, and basketball all four years. As a sophomore she was an alternate for the 4×400 for the State Track Meet. As a junior she was a state cross-country alternate, and was on the 4×800 meter relay state qualifier team. She was named 4×800 All-Conference. As a senior, Anna was cross-country all-conference honorable mention; Cross-Country Athlete of the Week; was named for the Iron Woman Award (coach-given award for good leadership, teamwork, and good work ethics); was part of the Cross-Country State Team; and won the Purdue Team Camp Championship for basketball during the summer of 2019.

Academically, Anna carries a High Honor Roll 4.0 GPA, is a NIC-10 Scholar-Athlete, and is an Illinois State Scholar.

Her extracurricular activities include: Secretary of National Honor Society; President of Key Club; Best Buddies; Science National Honor Society; English National Honor Society; North Way Mentor; and DECA. She volunteers weekly with the kids program at church and holds a part-time job at the Dolphin Swim Club.

Following high school, Anna plans to attend Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana; study mathematics or accounting; and run cross-country and track while attending Grace College.

“Anna is a very quiet person,” said Athletic Director Jody Flynn. “What impresses me is her work ethic. She is a sweet young lady, very respectful, always with a smile – the type of student-athlete we love working with.”

Coach Drew Pivoras said, “Congratulations. I can’t tell you how proud I am of you. You worked hard. You are dedicated and put your heart into track. You are an amazing student, always going above and beyond. It is a lot of fun seeing her encouraging kids as a Northway mentor. One of your strongest attributes is how kind-hearted you are. It is shocking how much you have accomplished in four years.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you flustered,” Coach Scheidegan said, “or overwhelmed. I see you answering questions with positivity and focus.”

“Last year,” Coach Foster said, “no one volunteered for president of the Key Club. I went up to Anna and said ‘please.’ She is the most organized person I have ever seen in my life. How you handle everything is just amazing.”

Coach Ken Husser said, “It was outstanding, seeing the amount of work you put in. You’re always prepared. The first thing you have to do, before you do big tasks, is do the small tasks. Anna always came to practices, even in the summer, she always did lifts and took care of the small stuff. That’s why she is now so great.

“You respect everyone, even coaches and opponents. In this day and age that is something that is diminishing.

“You never give up. The effort that you have put in over the years – you continue to never give up. You put everything on the line and you continue to do that. When times are the hardest, you are at your best. I would come up to you and say, ‘Anna, we need someone on 4×4, running right after another event, and you would be there.

“I was very fortunate to coach you for three years. You make people around you better.”

“Anna was always working on school stuff on buses on the way to meets,” said Coach Leonard. “This girl has fire. Basketball didn’t come as easy as she hoped but she pushed herself and her teammates to be better. That’s what made the team so successful. She is super competitive.

“I could talk for ten minutes about you and how you find time for volunteer activities. It was the easiest letter of recommendation I ever wrote.”

Coach Hunter said, “I saw a lot of things with Anna. She’s not happy when the basketball gets stolen – she’s going to go get it back. She’s very coachable. She’s a great teammate, very respectful. I never heard her say anything bad about anything. She’s an awesome kid. I’m going to miss her.”

“I just want to echo what the others said,” said Coach Beck. “The one thing that stands out to me is how pleasant you are. I’d be proud to have my two little girls grow up to be just like you.”

Mr. Flynn then opened the floor to anyone else who wanted to talk and Anna’s friends, teammates, and classmates didn’t hold back. Here are a few comments:

“You are such a great friend. I am going to miss you.”

“You always push yourself as much as you can to reach your goal. You are always so helpful and positive. I know you are going to do awesome things in college.”

“You are always so organized with a million notebooks. I want to be just like you.”
“Thank you for always being there for me.”

“It’s amazing how far you have come in the last four years. I am really glad we got closer. I am really going to miss you.”

“Anna has a burning passion to do better. She is so organized and so kindhearted. She worries more about the team than about herself.”

“I’m really going to miss you. I wish you good luck.”

“Grace College is really lucky to have you.”

Anna ended the comments section by thanking everyone for coming and for supporting her. “It has been such a blessing to be on the track and basketball teams. Thank you to my family for coming to all my events. I’m excited to see what comes ahead in the next four years.”

Applause greeted her as she officially signed her Letter of Intent, committing herself to compete in track and cross-country at Grace College.

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