Cross Country File Photo
(From left to right) Ohio sophomore Michael McKean, junior Kurt Steinmuller and junior Jarrod Genther cross the finish line in a pack during their home cross country meet at the Ohio University golf course Sept. 5.
Freshman Zach Zimmerman wants to make his mark on the men’s cross country team fast—even if his collegiate career hasn’t started.
Zimmerman, who graduated from Pickerington North High School, will be one of the fastest freshman in the men’s cross country program. His personal best time for the 5K is 15:23. As he heads into his first year, he hopes he can contribute to the team in a positive way.
“Hopefully I can push everyone else,” Zimmerman said. “I know we have a lot of young guys that are fast.”
Zimmerman also mentioned that he wants to break 32 minutes for the 10K, and wants to run at regionals. As the season develops, the length of each race stretches out.
Along with wanting to contribute to the team, Zimmerman also hopes the team can win at the Mid-American Conference Championships by his senior year. The men’s squad has won three MAC championships, with the most recent one coming in 1996.
Even though Zimmerman has high expectations for himself and the team, he is also realistic about his goals.
“I believe I will have an apprenticeship role,” he said. “I don’t think I will come in dropping sweet times. I will have to learn from the older guys.”
Heading into this season, the men’s cross country squad has lost a couple of key runners from last year.
Senior runners such as Kurt Steinmuller and Jacob Stephens helped the team to a fifth place finish at the MAC Championships in 2014. Steinmuller was even named MAC cross country runner of the week this past September.
In addition, the men’s team will receive more attention from coach Clay Calkins, who lead the men’s side only, as opposed to the men’s and women’s teams in previous seasons.
However, Zimmerman believes the squad can be successful despite the losses.
“I know we have two or three freshmen that are solid runners,” Zimmerman said. “I also want to be able to learn quickly.”