Saugatuck’s four-sport athlete puts future plans on hold to concentrate on football
Saugatuck – Sometime in the distant future Blake Dunn said he might reflect back on a stunning list of high school achievements.
At the moment Saugatuck’s four-sport athlete is too busy adding additional chapters in an amazing resume that includes posting record numbers as a do-it-all football quarterback, the likelihood of cracking the 1,500-point mark in basketball, two state records in track and a future that includes playing baseball at the Division I level.
Heady stuff, for sure. But Dunn, a senior, who admits he was probably destined to become an athlete, is far from thinking about his accomplishments.
"I will definitely cherish the moments, the relationships with my teammates and playing together with them," Dunn said. "There have been times I’ll never forget. But then again, there are still things ahead of me that will lead to opportunities. I’ll never forget about high school, but there is still so much to look forward to."
While the future is rosy, the past has been amazing. As part of graduating next spring having earned 16 varsity letters in four sports, Dunn rushed for 4,440 yards and 58 touchdowns as a sophomore and junior and will almost certainly add a third straight 1,600-yard season this fall. He ran for 225 yards and four touchdowns including a 97-yard touchdown run in his team’s season opener, a 48-6 win over Constantine. Last week he accounted for seven touchdowns including fie rushing in a 68-0 victory over Eau Claire. He’s one of five backs in state history to own a 99-yard run. His 2,748 yards in 2015 ranks 12th on the all-time list.
In basketball, the 5-11, 185-pound Dunn is a three-time all-conference guard who averaged 18 points per game as a sophomore and 26.6 last season. He owns the school’s single-game scoring record (52).
Dunn also runs track, where he set the Division 4 state marks in the 110 (14.33) and 300-meter hurdles (38.31).
But it’s in baseball where Dunn’s future rests. He hit over .500 the last two seasons. Last season he hit .588 with seven home runs and 42 RBI. Dunn is 97 of 99 in stolen base attempts the last two seasons while going 16-8 as a pitcher. Dunn’s fastball has been clocked in the 90 mph range. He’s played in the prestigious Area Code Games in California and hit .469 and .519 the last two summers with the travel Detroit Arsenal and Indiana Prospects clubs.
While Dunn will focus on becoming a two-way baseball player at Western Michigan in 2018, ask him about his favorite sport and he’ll hedge on his answer. At some point baseball overtook the other sports on his priority list, perhaps, he said, because it was a time when the demand of other sports lessened.
"As a freshman I began focusing in on travel ball," he said. "There were summers when I still did other sports, but I just liked the feel of playing baseball and colleges began recruiting me more than in the other sports. I think that kind of helped me decide what my future was in."
Dunn chose Western Michigan after also being recruited by Toledo, Connecticut, West Virginia and Missouri.
Dunn said he never felt pressure to take up sports even though his father, Bill Dunn, Saugatuck’s athletic director and football coach, was a three-sport athlete in high school and his mother ran track for Holland West Ottawa.
"Sports have definitely been a big part of my life," he said. "Even since I went to football games with my dad and watched sports on television. Everything seemed to revolve around sports."
"He’s had a tremendous career in all sports," Bill Dunn said. "He has little down time, but he’s learned to become focused. He has a great work ethic."
Dunn, who carries a 3.96 grade-point average, said he never considered narrowing his athletic participation. Just the same, he will be glad to focus on just baseball at the next level. He admits a secret ambition of wondering just how talented he would be in a single sport if he focused on just one.
"I’m looking forward to that, being able to be with one college coach and focusing on that sport," he said. "I didn’t think of giving up a sport in high school, but its hard work. It definitely has an effect physically and on your mind. No matter what you do in one sport it will take a toll on you and you have to stay focused mentally, keep pushing."
With all his amazing accomplishments comes the pressure of high expectations. Dunn said at some point people simply expect more of the same. It’s not necessarily fair but Dunn has learned to block out what people think he should be doing.
"I try not to think about it," he said. "I know it’s a tribute that people look to, but I know my teammates have my back and I have theirs. I can handle pressure. When I feel like there is pressure, I just try to up my game more."