High School Standout Breanna Dunn overcomes true adversity to have stellar season

High School Standouts

JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL)- In our digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.

These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.

This week’s High School Standout is Breanna Dunn, a sophomore girls cross country runner at David Crockett High School.


Through the neighborhood roads of Jonesborough, the David Crockett cross country team is training for history.

“Talking about our strategies and getting ready to go out there and see if we can make it come true,” David Crockett head cross country coach Mark Roberts said.

The region championship meet is Thursday, with the top three teams advancing to state.

“We’re really excited, we’ve worked really hard this year and all of us girls have put in our effort,” cross country runner Breanna Dunn said.

A runner you’ll see right around the front is Lady Pioneers sophomore Breanna Dunn.

“Ever since I was in elementary school I’ve always dreamed of running it means a whole lot to me I don’t know what I’d do without it it’s helped me become the person I am today,” Dunn said.

“I think she’s got some God-given ability right off the bat and then she’s got some personal drive I’ve been around her since middle school she really works hard and this is her second year and she’s really started to come on this year and she really has picked up a leadership role,” Roberts said.

Overcoming adversity is a cliché we hear a lot in sports, but it’s no cliché hearing what Dunn has overcome in the last few months.

“She could get a 2020 tattoo on her cause it’s been a tough year it’s been an adverse time,” Roberts said.

Especially the night of July 1st.

“I was sitting in my room and I smelled smoke coming through my window and I was like oh they’re probably burning trash or something having a bonfire, then I looked out my window and it was black smoke texture and was like this isn’t good so I ran downstairs woke up my parents and was like the front porch is on fire and we opened up the front porch and there were flames of fire that knocked us back,” Dunn said.

Everyone was safe, including the family dogs, but unfortunately the house was gone.

“It was a very horrifying moment,” Dunn said.

“We called the family see if we could do anything for them they said they had everything right I think it was a porch fire,” Roberts said.

Dunn took some time away from team training. Weeks later, through the abnormal levels of stress she endured, she was diagnosed with the stomach ulcer and took more time away to heal.

That’s not all. She had to leave the team again last month, after her stepdad contracted COVID-19 she had to quarantine for 14 days.

“Luckily she never did catch it but she had to miss that time with the team miss that time training,” Roberts said.

“Upset cause I love running with my team they’re like family to me but when I was running on my own it was like I missed that connection with my team I want to be back with my team,” Dunn said.

Dunn has worked her way back from a lot going on to finish this season strong.

“I can’t image a house fire and losing all your stuff that’s just the ultimate in loss besides losing a family member or something, coming over that, that would be enough to knock most people down then after she got going no wonder she got a stomach ulcer,” Roberts said.

“All summer I was burning my tail off working really really hard and I was like I’m gonna do good this year I’m gonna be grinding and then all this happened and I had to work extremely hard to stay in the place I am now and it’s been a hustle ever since,” Dunn said.

She’s come all the way back and finished in the top-10 of last month’s Fender’s Farm Cross Country Meet, which is also the farm by where she lives. She ran right by her old house during that race, and she also ran right by her new one.

“We run a race out there at Fender’s, I can picture it in my mind they got a nice new one they’re building right now beautiful location by the Nolichucky River in the middle of God’s country right there on the farm,” Roberts said.

“Ran right in front of it and it was crazy cause last year I ran by it was my old house but now running by it now and seeing people work on it it’s a lot, a lot can happen to you in a year,” Dunn said.

Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.

You can find Michael Epps on Facebook and Twitter. You can also email him at mepps@wjhl.com with ideas for a future High School Standout.

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