Annalise Grammel was an exemplary student-athlete for Columbus Academy, earning 16 varsity letters in four sports while compiling a 3.93 GPA and working to serve the community.

The senior's prep career ended prematurely when spring sports were canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. However, Grammel earned her 16th letter when athletics director Jason Singleton announced varsity spring athletes would be recognized.

"It's definitely bittersweet, and not having the last semester with my friends and my teachers has definitely been challenging since I miss everyone so much," said Grammel, a Canal Winchester resident who competed in track and field in the spring.

Grammel also competed in soccer and cross country in the fall and swimming and diving in the winter. Outside of school, she organized the first two Honor Flight Columbus 5K run/walk events in 2018 and 2019, helping to raise $41,000 for the organization, which transports senior veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit war memorials.

She will compete in soccer and track at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

"She's a special girl," said Denny Hammond, who coaches cross country and track. "When I took the job at Academy, I was hoping that was the type of kid I would get. She works hard. She has a great attitude. She's just a really nice person. She competes like a champion. She's been fantastic, so it's tough for her not to have her senior year (in track)."

Competing in her third Division III state track meet last season, Grammel was part of the fourth-place 800-meter relay (1 minute, 45.71 seconds) and 12th-place 3,200 relay (10:00.34). She also finished 17th in the 800 (2:22.78).

She helped set program records in the 800 relay (1:45.35) and 1,600 relay (4:00).

In swimming last season, she competed on the seventh-place 400-yard freestyle relay (3:41.1) and 11th-place 200 medley relay (1:52.51) in the Division II state meet.

Last fall in soccer, Grammel helped lead the Vikings to a Division III state semifinal, where they lost to Cincinnati Country Day 4-2. It was the first state berth for Academy, which finished 16-4-2 overall and won the MSL-Ohio Division title at 8-0.

"Annalise had an unbelievable career with Academy soccer," coach Matt Thompson said. "Day in and day out, she set a tremendous example for her teammates. She was simply relentless. As a player, she is skilled and has great vision. As a person, she is caring, hard-working and committed to her teammates and our program. She will be missed."

Grammel was named first-team all-league and second-team all-district last fall.

"There's been a lot of memories from all my sports, but this past year soccer was pretty memorable," she said. "We had a great group of girls and it was really amazing to all come together and do so well and make the state tournament. We never really expected to make it that far. It was a great experience and something I won't forget."

In cross country last fall, Grammel finished 18th (19:35.5) in the Division II regional meet and 90th (20:14.6) at state.

"She had a great career," Hammond said. "She's special, but as good an athlete she was, she's a better person. She's an outstanding young lady. The thing about coaching is it's not just the performances, it's the relationships you make. The relationships that I had with these seniors ended three or four months too early."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

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