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Meet 2024 Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee Standout Track Athlete Dana Carey Gange '11

The 2024 Marian Athletic Club (MAC) Hall of Fame celebration on Sunday, March 24, 2024 will mark the third consecutive year that deserving individuals and teams will be inducted to the Marian Athletics Hall of Fame. Ahead of the celebration, Marian interviewed track and field standout Dana Carey Gange '11, slated for induction March 24: 

Dana, congratulations on your induction into the Marian Athletics Hall of Fame! Your achievements in track and field both at Marian High School and the University of Michigan are remarkable. Can you share with us some of the highlights of your track and field career at Marian? 

DG: Thank you so much for the honor. I appreciate the opportunity to reflect on my track and field career at Marian. One of the most memorable moments was becoming All-State my senior season at the State Championship. We were Division 1 that year, and placing 4th in the 300 meter hurdles was a huge accomplishment. After the state meet, I was more motivated than ever because I knew I could still improve my time. I needed to shave a second off my time to secure a scholarship to the University of Michigan.

A couple weeks after the state meet, there is a meet called the Midwest Meet of Champions. It is a very competitive event and was the most important competition of my career. I placed second at the meet with a time of 43.37, breaking the school record and earning my scholarship to U of M. It was a culmination of years of hard work and dedication, and placing second at the Midwest Meet of Champions was a moment I will never forget.  

Additionally, being part of a 4x4 relay team that set school records and competed at the state level was incredibly rewarding. The camaraderie and teamwork involved in relay events created some of the fondest memories of my high school track experience. 

As a standout athlete, you earned recognition at both the state and national levels, including All-American honors. How did your experiences competing in track and field at Marian shape your identity as an athlete and a competitor?  

DG: Competing in track and field at Marian was pivotal in shaping my identity as an athlete and competitor. The experiences I gained not only improved my physical abilities but also instilled valuable qualities that have influenced my approach to life beyond the track. The rigorous training and competition taught me the importance of discipline and hard work. I began training for track year-round with my coach, Coach D, starting my junior year. Achieving success in track and field required consistent dedication and a strong work ethic. I was not naturally gifted at track and field, but poured an incredible amount of effort and hard work into my training. This discipline and dedication to my track goals became a cornerstone of my identity, enabling me to set and pursue ambitious goals in all aspects of my life. The recognition and honors I received are not just personal achievements but also a reflection of the support, guidance, and dedication I received from coaches, teammates, and my parents. 

Overall, my experiences in track and field at Marian not only shaped me as a skilled athlete but also instilled essential values and qualities that continue to influence my identity as a determined, passionate, and dedicated individual. These traits are especially valuable now in my season of motherhood, as I raise my three, soon to be four, children. 

Transitioning to collegiate athletics at the University of Michigan, you continued to excel in track and field. How did your time at Marian prepare you for the rigors of collegiate competition, both athletically and academically? 

DG: My time at Marian laid a solid foundation that significantly prepared me for the challenges of collegiate competition at the University of Michigan, both athletically and academically. Athletically, the rigorous training and competitive experiences instilled in me the work ethic and discipline necessary for success at the collegiate level. The high standards set by both myself and my coaches, coupled with the intense competition at the state level and during AAU club track, helped me develop the physical and mental toughness required to compete in the demanding collegiate track and field environment. Competing in several national-level AAU and USAFT meets also prepared me for the competitive atmosphere at higher levels of competition.  

Academically, the time management skills required during high school were crucial for balancing the demands of rigorous training schedules and challenging coursework in college. The academic expectations at Marian prepared me for the academic rigors of college life and helped me develop effective study habits. Also, the values instilled in me during high school, such as sportsmanship, integrity, and a commitment to excellence, continued to guide me both on and off the track at the collegiate level. 

Beyond the track, you've also achieved academic success, graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in Sports Management. How do you believe your experiences as a student-athlete have influenced your personal and professional development? 

DG: My experiences as a student-athlete, particularly at the University of Michigan and at Marian, have had a profound impact on my personal and professional development, as well as on my approach to raising my children. Balancing rigorous training schedules with academic responsibilities required discipline and effective organization, skills that have proven invaluable in my personal life where I've been able to handle multiple tasks efficiently. 

Being a student-athlete also taught me the value of resilience in the face of challenges. This mindset has been crucial in navigating the ups and downs of my personal and professional journey and has influenced how I guide my children in overcoming obstacles and challenges.  

In addition, the emphasis on physical fitness and wellness in athletics has instilled a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. This commitment extends to my family, where we prioritize physical activity and a balanced diet. I enjoy cooking healthy and nutritious meals for my family, while teaching my children the importance of living a balanced lifestyle. I want my children to be as active and healthy as possible. 

Looking back on your journey from Marian High School to where you are now, what lessons or values do you cherish most from your time as a student-athlete, and how do you hope to inspire future generations of young athletes at Marian? 

DG: Reflecting on my journey from Marian to the present, several lessons and values from my time as a student-athlete hold particular significance. These are some principles I cherish most and hope to inspire in future generations of young athletes at Marian:  

Resilience and Perseverance: The journey in athletics can be filled with challenges, injuries, setbacks, and moments of adversity. Embracing resilience and perseverance becomes essential. Coach D always used to tell me to trust the man upstairs, and I believe that trust in God is so important. I want to convey to future generations that setbacks and challenges are not failures but opportunities to learn, grow, and come back even stronger.  

Balancing Academics and Athletics: The importance of balancing academic and athletic pursuits is a lesson that has served me well in life. I aim to inspire future generations to prioritize education while pursuing their athletic passions, understanding that a well-rounded education enhances personal and professional growth and will help in several aspects of your life even beyond school.  

Leadership and Mentorship: Whether as a supportive teammate, a team captain, coach, or a parent, leadership and mentorship play essential roles in athletics and throughout life in general. I hope to encourage young athletes to embrace leadership opportunities, foster a positive team environment, and serve as mentors to their teammates, creating a culture of support and encouragement. 

Lifelong Commitment to a Healthy Lifestyle: I have learned that the commitment to a healthy lifestyle, developed during my track career, is a lifelong gift. I hope to instill in younger athletes and my own children the importance of physical activity, nutrition, and overall well-being, because it sets the foundation for a healthy and fulfilling life.  

As I look back, these values and lessons have not only shaped my athletic career but have also influenced every aspect of my life. My hope is that by sharing these experiences and principles with future generations at Marian High School, I can contribute to the development of well-rounded individuals who not only excel in their chosen sports but also carry these valuable lessons into their personal and professional lives. I want to inspire them to be not just great athletes but also compassionate leaders and positive contributors to their communities, families, and careers. 

Thank you, Dana!

Joining Dana in this year’s Hall of Fame Class are All-American basketball player Nicole Anaejionu '99, lacrosse legend Caroline Forester '15 and longtime Marian Head of School Sr. Lenore Pochelski, IHM, who was instrumental to the growth of the athletic program and a guiding member of the Catholic High School League's (CHSL) Executive Committee. Additionally, former student-athletes representing the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) state championship soccer teams of 2003 and 2004 will be on campus to represent both teams' induction to the hall of fame. 

Once again, Jennifer Hammond, FOX 2 Sports Reporter and 2024 National Sports Media Association (NSMA) Michigan Sportscaster of the Year, will be the evening's host for the third consecutive year. Hammond will lead the inductee panel in an interactive talk show-style format that promises to be entertaining for all ages. 

While tickets are free of charge, attendees are encouraged to register and contribute to the Hall of Fame effort if possible. Additionally, registrants and sponsors have the opportunity to write personalized messages to the inductees during the registration process. Sponsors will take part in a private meet-and-greet event with inductees that will include photo opportunities and a champagne reception. Hors d'oeuvres and light refreshments will be served to all. 

The Hall of Fame Class of 2024 joins 2023 inductees longtime contributor Denny Flynn, groundbreaking tennis coach Julie McKnight (posthumously inducted), all-American swimmer Mollie Pultie '15, and dual sport threat Stephanie Storen Jett '93 (basketball & volleyball) and 2022 inductees Barry Brodsky (soccer), Mary Cicerone (basketball), Jay Louis-Prescott (field hockey & soccer), Bill Thompson (swimming) and Dave Feldman (athletic director). 

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