VanderLende to run at Michigan

ANN ARBOR — State high school track & field and cross country champion Ericka VanderLende of Rockford has signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Michigan.

The daughter of Forest Park High School graduate Ingrid (Peterson) and Greg VanderLende and granddaughter of Dave and Arlene Peterson of Crystal Falls is one of the nation’s top distance runners.

She made a verbal commitment to run for Michigan last month.

“Hope her career motivates others to dream big,” Rockford Coach Ben Watson said on social media, noting VanderLende was far from an accomplished runner when she began as a freshman.

In track & field, VanderLende is the only high school girl in Michigan history to break 10 minutes in the two-mile, running 9:59.92 to finish fifth at the 2018 Brooks PR meet. She won the 2018 MHSAA Division 1 1600-meter.

The two-time champion at the MHSAA Division 1 state finals, VanderLende was undefeated in 2018 in 10 races through the state finals.