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Checking in with ... Gwen Andersen (Stonington)

(Editor's note: The Day will be publishing a profile of a spring athlete for each day of the canceled high school athletic season.)

School: Stonington High School

Class: Senior

Sport: Girls' track & field

Events: 100, 200 meters, 4x100 relay

College choice: Springfield College (will continue to compete in track)

Chosen major: Health sciences

Athlete you grew up admiring: Florence Griffith Joyner

Checking in with Gwen: "To coach (Ben) Bowne and coach (Jeff) Parkinson, I appreciate what you guys have done for me beyond words; thank you for becoming father figures in my life. To my teammates, I have never felt more supported and loved by a group of individuals. Continue to push yourselves and truly enjoy the sport. I love and miss you all so much."

What you need to know about Gwen: Andersen was injured off and on during indoor track season and was looking forward to coming back from that and ending her career at Stonington "on my own terms." "It is so frustrating," said Andersen, who has had hamstring issues since she was a sophomore. "I had worked so hard and was finally getting my 55 meters down to the time I had wanted it, but unfortunately the only thing that helps the continuous hamstring pull is rest and physical therapy." She was fourth in the Eastern Connecticut Conference last spring in the 100 meters (13.28) and second in the 200 (27.30), also leading the Bears' 4x100 relay team to a third-place finish. She was third in the Class M state championship in the 100 and sixth in the 200. Indoors she competed in the 55, 300, sprint medley relay and 4x200. "I loved it all," Andersen said, asked to pick a favorite moment of her career, "but probably when I ran sub-13 (seconds) in the 100 meters for the first time; I had just been working for it for so long, it felt so rewarding." She credits Bowne for pulling her aside during a practice one day her junior year and giving her important advice. "To explain to me how much the younger girls looked up to me, being the fastest on their team," Andersen said. "I feel like my act at track practice changed dramatically after that conversation. I took being a leader very seriously and tried to set the best example I could every day." A self-described "military brat," Andersen is always up for a new adventure and is passionate about traveling. She enjoys hanging out with friends, the outdoors and the pasta primavera (every time) at Paul's Pasta in Groton. She plans to become a pediatric occupational therapist.

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