PORT ST. JOE, Fla. (WMBB) – This week’s Scholar Athlete of the Week sponsored by Perry and Young P.A. is Port St. Joe’s, Madelyn Gortemoller.

Gortemoller competes with the Sharks cross country, track and field and soccer teams.

While she’s made a name for herself when it comes to the high school running scene, it was actually another sport that drew her to it.

“The reason why I joined track was to be in shape for soccer. When I got there I realized there was so much more and realized that I could run faster and prove my skills on the soccer field with speed and endurance and I liked how they worked together. It kinda broke up a little bit, I would run, I would have soccer, then I would run again throughout the season,” Gortemoller said.

Gortemoller has made her mark on Port St. Joe’s athletics too.

In 58 games played with the soccer team, she’s scored 35 goals, nine of them this season.

She even broke a cross country school record with her 5K time this season and this past summer, she qualified for the AAU Junior Olympics.

However, with all her success, it’s hard to tell what Gortemoller has gone through to get here.

She was born with severe scoliosis and had to get spinal fusion surgery when she was young, but she never let it stop her.

“I always never let my back be an excuse, most people actually didn’t know about my back because she plays all these sports, I had no idea. I use it as a testimony, I don’t ever use it as an excuse because I don’t want people to think I’m weak,” Gortemoller said.

She’s also participates in multiple clubs at the school as she’s a part of National Honor Society, Key Club, SGA, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“I’m not just an athlete, or go to school at Port St. Joe, I have a faith that’s very strong and I love Jesus and I want to share that with my community,” Gortemoller said.

Her faith even shows up on the field of competition.

“I always tell my teammates at soccer games, well that girl said something mean to me, I say you need to love your enemies cause Jesus loves you and you need to love your enemies,” Gortemoller said.

She hopes she will qualify for the state track and field meet this year and even hopes to continue the sport in college where she wants to study kinesiology.

“So I would love to get that degree and maybe go coach somewhere else or be a part of another system that I can help other athletes strengthen or prevent injuries,” Gortemoller said.