Track Q&A: Kendall Dunn

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Kendall Dunn, a graduating senior on the women's track team, came into Pepperdine as a transfer during her sophomore year. She looks back on her college career, which recently came to an end:

Kendall  Dunn

Q: You were the best 800 runner this year, and rank #3 all-time in the event at Pepperdine. How does that feel for you?

A: It is an amazing feeling! It's funny because I have been a 400-meter hurdler during my entire career at Pepperdine, but due to a recent back injury my coach and I decided it would be best to train for a less-strenuous event for the second half of the season. That being said, I am very happy to say I am ranked #3 all-time in an event I have only ran a total of three times in my life! I owe it all to (Venus Jewett) Coach V's training and the foundation she has built for our program.

Q: What made you decide to transfer here to Pepperdine?

A: I was originally recruited by a different university on a full-ride track and field scholarship. The school was beautiful and was great academically, but after a few short weeks I continued to find myself a victim to sexual harassment. After weeks of feeling violated and isolated, I decided to forgo the opportunity to run for that particular university. Once I left that school, I decided that safety was going to be a top priority as I searched for a new school to transfer to. Pepperdine was by far one of the best places to ensure I would be living in a safe environment. I also struggled with my faith when I was younger and I wanted to attend a school that would strengthen and rebuild my faith. I am happy to say that Pepperdine has given me that opportunity and I have grown and continue to grow closer to the Lord. The beautiful location and the amazing teammates I am able to train with every day are just added bonuses!

Q: How have you liked your three years here?

A: My three years here have been absolutely unforgettable. Being at Pepperdine has allowed me to strengthen all aspects of my life, whether it be my relationship with God, family, friends, academics, community involvement and so on. I'm so lucky to have been given the opportunity to attend an academically renowned college while also competing at the Division I level in the sport I love. I'm also happy to say that the relationships I have built with friends, teammates and staff members along the way will continue to prevail once I graduate. I would relive these three years over and over again if possible because of all the memories and accomplishments I have made over the course of my college career.

Q: What's it like to look back on your college track career?

A: Overwhelming. This sport has given me a lot of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. I believe every athlete can relate to this. But I don't think I would be where I am today without track because track literally saved my life. You see, when I was 14 years old, I was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma skin cancer. After being diagnosed, I became very sick and had to undergo multiple surgeries, which led to my absence from track during my sophomore year of high school. The one thing that I used as my escape - track -- had vanished and I felt very angry and depressed during that time. So after hearing the doctor say, "If you had waited a couple more months to get your skin checked you would have been dead in a year," it ignited a drive and motivation from within me that I had never felt before. Hearing that you were on the brink of death isn't something you take lightly, so from that moment on I made it my goal to treat every meet, every practice and every step like it was my last. That being said, after looking back on my college career, I am glad to say I did just that. Track has taught me to never take my life for granted and to glorify God by using the ability he has so graciously given me.

Q: What's your favorite memory from your Pepperdine career?

A: Other than Tori's mediocre limbo skills, I would have to say my favorite memory was the conclusion of our 2015-2016 season. We ended the season with so many broken school records and it was exciting to be a part of that experience. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your hard work being paid off by breaking records!

Q: What about in general a favorite memory from your time at Pepperdine?

A: I really enjoyed participating in Songfest during my sophomore year. Songfest was the first time I truly got involved on campus and it allowed me to build new friendships and create memories that will last a lifetime. Once I graduate and look back on my Pepperdine career, Songfest will always be one of the first memories that come to mind.

Q: How has it been running for these coaches?

A: I have absolutely loved running for these coaches. Coach Radnoti has been there for us constantly at practice and keeps our team organized. But I spend most of my hours with Coach V, since she is the sprint/hurdle coach. Coach V has gone above and beyond my expectations as a coach. She genuinely cares about our success as athletes and every workout is carefully crafted to ensure that she is training us to the best of her ability, and there is nothing more loving than that. Besides being a coach, she has been a role model to me and sets an example of how I wish to lead my life once I graduate from Pepperdine. She is an example of a strong, courageous, fun and fabulous woman, and I am going to miss her more than words can describe.

Q: How about running with these teammates?

A: I don't even know where to begin in describing how amazing these teammates are. As a transfer student, I was so worried that I might feel left out upon joining the team. Fortunately, after a few practices and getting to know the girls on and off the track, I immediately felt welcomed. They enjoy sporadic dancing with me at practice, they understand my love for food, and I know I can always count on them when I need a shoulder to lean on. I really don't know what I would have done without these amazing women during my Pepperdine career.

Q: Are you excited for graduation?

A: Absolutely! Not only will my degree signify the completion of college, but it will also be a time to reflect on all of my academic accomplishments and hard work. Better yet, I will also be celebrating the day with close family and friends. It will be such an incredible memory and I am excited to hit this milestone in my life. I owe it all to God and also to those who contributed to paving my path along the way.

Q: Do you have any plans for after graduation?

A: I plan on winning the lottery and crossing the first thing off on my bucket list, which is to travel to the Nyungwe Forest in Africa to play with chimpanzees!

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