Garrett Dumke

(Maryville) -- Over his high school career, Maryville senior Garrett Dumke went from an aspiring football player to Division I cross country commit at Southeast Missouri. 

"It's amazing," Dumke said about his commitment. "Being able to grow up with a great coach and have these opportunities has been great for me. To find a school like Southeast (Missouri) is just incredible." 

Dumke has come a long way during his high school years. He initially had his heart set on playing football but ultimately transitioned to running. 

"I had an injury my freshman year of football," he said. "So I decided I need to look at other outlets and see what I was talented at." 

Dumke discovered he was talented at running, claiming three Midland Empire Conference titles and four state qualifications. 

"I just decided to give cross country a try, and here we are now," Dumke said. 

While success came for Dumke, it wasn't smooth sailing.

"I didn't know much about running," he said. "Coach (Rodney) Bade always said I was a really raw runner. The things I accomplished make me look forward to the collegiate level. I'm still pretty fresh to the running world. I'm always looking to improve and see where running can take me." 

The Redhawks' coach -- Ryan Lane -- played a large part in Dumke's decision to take his talents to Cape Girardeau. 

"I felt a strong connection," he said. "They're an up and rising program. It just felt like the right choice."

Their Athletic Training program also enticed Dumke.

"Everything seemed to click," he said. 

When Dumke gets to campus, he hopes to make an impact quickly. 

"Coach Bade has done an amazing job preparing us for the next level," he said. "I feel very prepared. I want to become a better runner, bring down my times, and see how far I can go."

The complete interview with Dumke can be heard below. 

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