Zingsheim's Story an Award-Winner

May 31, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Zack Zingsheim’s career highlight is an easy pick.

It was just a few months ago, at Michigan International Speedway, when he stunned even himself by winning the MHSAA Division 3 cross country championship.

He can describe in vivid detail being the last to come out of the chute at the finish, looking into the grandstand and telling himself to always remember the moment. He can see again his teammates further down the chute, chanting his name. The goose bumps he felt. How they jumped the fence, lifted him to their shoulders and carried him off the course.

It was the greatest day he could remember. And it ended with a pie in the face.

“I remember how surreal the moment was,” he said. “Since I was a little kid, I thought it would be so cool to win the state meet for cross country; the atmosphere is so amazing.”

Nearly as amazing is he doesn’t remember the flavor of the pie.

Zingsheim tells a story with the best of them – thanks in part  to a keen photographic memory and attention to detail.

But he gets a Second Half High 5 this week because of his status as one of the state’s top high school runners – and what a tale he’s spun over the last year.

Zingsheim has the top-seeded Division 3 time in the 800 meters (1:55.30) heading into Saturday’s Finals at Comstock High School, and also runs on the top-seeded 800, 1,600 and 3,200 relays. He and his teammates won the 800 relay at last season’s Finals, and he has or is part of school records in all four of those races, plus the 400. He’s also the fastest in Cougars cross country history.

Another of his favorite stories to tell explains why.

Diamond in the rough

He remembers seeing the Corunna baseball diamond in the distance. That’s key to this story.

Zingsheim was a freshman in 2009, running the second leg of the 800 relay, and had just taken the baton. His right hip had been feeling tight and then painful over the previous couple of weeks, but he felt great at that point as he glanced ahead and saw the baseball field.

The next step, he felt like he got hit with a baseball square in the right hip. But there was no baseball.

He tried to bring the leg forward, and couldn’t. He dragged his leg the next 100 meters to complete his handoff, and then collapsed.

Zingsheim did see a “flabby piece of bone just laying there.” He started crying. His parents immediately drove him to the hospital as he screamed the lyrics to whatever was on the radio to try to forget the pain. (And yes, he remembered one off the songs: “Boom Boom Pow” by the Black Eyed Peas.)

The flexor muscle that connected his hamstring to his pelvis had torn and taken the top of that part of his pelvic bone with it.

Next came months of therapy and changes. He’d started on the freshman basketball team, but decided to stop that sport and focus on running. Still, he couldn’t get in shape that summer because he couldn’t put in the miles, and his sophomore cross country season wasn’t what he’d wanted – until he ran a personal best late in the season and got a needed confidence boost.

“There’s something so special about being able to run so hard and seeing hard work come to fruition on the course or the track,” Zingsheim said. “And especially, seeing how far I had to come. I wanted to see what kind of runner I could become if I put all that work in.”

His 1,600 relay finished eighth at the 2010 Division 3 Finals, another turning point. A year later, Lansing Catholic coach Tim Simpson needed a fill-in on the 800 relay. The date was April 13, 2011 – a day shy of two years since he’d suffered the pelvic break. “I’ve never been so nervous for another race,” he said. But the Cougars set a school record, and he’s been on that relay since.

A long road traveled

“He’s come a long way, but he’s always had that ability,” Simpson said. “He ran 50-70 miles a week during the summer. He reads about the top runners, follows it, so he know what they’re doing, what you’re supposed to do if you’re going to be good.”

There’s always an eye on the details; Zingsheim’s got a reputation among his classmates as the guy who always is last to turn in his tests. He gets done quickly, but spends the rest of the period double and triple-checking his answers to make sure everything is right.

There are plenty of other stories, of course. Like how he and his talented classmates – Lansing Catholic’s senior boys also played in the Division 5 Football Final in the fall – split up during middle school into football teams that stayed the same for months and turned into fierce rivalries. (He played receiver.)

He’s earned the story-teller role in his family too; at gatherings he’s often the go-to guy for a “quirky” or “goofy” family tale.

But the stories he’ll be most proud to be part of are those that get passed down to Lansing Catholic runners after him.

Zingsheim was in first grade when his brother Brandon was a senior on the cross country and track teams and began the Cougars’ tradition of saying a “Hail Mary” and chanting “Hey Cougars, what we going to do?” Zack is among those who now lead that rally.

Lansing Catholic had outstanding runners before Zingsheim. But with him and a strong group of individuals including distance seniors Jimmy Hicks (who will walk-on at the University of Georgia), Austin Winter and Joe Marrah, they could cap their careers with the team’s first MHSAA championship.

“What I really wanted to do by the time my tenure was done was lay a foundation. Build the program; do things the right way,” Zingsheim said. “I wanted to teach guys what it means to be an LCC runner.

“The last four years, we’ve really been able to build that program. … And I’m so excited to see where the program is going the next couple of years.”

Click to read more about Zingsheim's inspirations and aspirations.

PHOTO: Lansing Catholic's Zack Zingsheim was part of the championship-winning 800 relay at last season's Division 3 Final. 

Preview: UP Boys Finals Loaded with Intriguing Opportunities

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

June 2, 2023

Saturday’s Upper Peninsula Boys Track & Field Finals can match storylines with any of the other events happening statewide on the busiest day of the school sports season.

The Division 1 meet will pit rivals returning after one point separated them a year ago, while Division 2 will see a pair of 2022 champions looking to win again.

Munising’s Micaiah Peramaki will compete in his last Finals after becoming the latest to win four individual events last spring, and Pickford’s David Kozisek will compete in his first and only Finals with a great possibility of becoming the next four-event champ.

All three divisions will again be contested at Kingsford High School, with preliminaries leading off the day at 9 a.m. local (Central) time. Tickets cost $11 and are available digitally only via GoFan.

MHSAA.tv will live-stream the meets beginning at 9 a.m. (CDT)/10 a.m. (EDT), viewable with subscription.

Following is a glance at team contenders and individuals to watch in all three divisions:

Division 1

Team forecast: Marquette owns a two-year championship streak, but claimed last season’s title by a mere point ahead of Kingsford. The Flivvers will pose another challenge Saturday with a pair of relay favorites and strong field events hoping to counter Marquette’s distance stars and overall depth. Sault Ste. Marie, boasting excellence in the distance events as well, could factor significantly.

Matthew Colavecchi, Iron Mountain junior: Last season’s 100 and 200 champion in UPD2 will run on a contending 400 relay and had the sixth-fastest UPD1 Regional time in the 100 (11.85).

Will Fairchild, Iron Mountain senior: He finished fifth both in the 110 and 300 hurdles and eighth in long jump in UPD2 last season, but heads into these UPD1 Finals with the top Regional times for his division in both races – 16.05 and 42.48, respectively.

Michael Floriano, Kingsford junior: Last season’s 200 and 400 relay champion and 100 dash runner-up will run on two favored relays this time and also enters with the third-fastest UPD1 Regional times in the 100 (11.56) and 200 (23.94).

Drew Hughes, Gladstone senior: After running a relay at last year’s Finals, he’s set to run two plus enters with the top UPD1 Regional time in the 800 (2:05.23) and fourth-fastest in the 1,600 (4:38.46).

Gabe Litzner, Sault Ste. Marie freshman: The UPD1 cross country champion in the fall enters his first Track Finals with the top UPD1 Regional times in the 1,600 (4:35.42) and 3,200 (9:58.36).

Cole Myllyla, Kingsford senior: He’s another returning relay champ and also won the long jump and was sixth in the high jump last season. He’ll run on two favored relays and had the third-best UPD1 Regional long jump (20-¼).  

Carson VanderSchaaf, Marquette senior: He’s a two-time 3,200 champion and also won the 1,600 and as part of the 3,200 relay last spring, and he’ll enter Saturday with the second-fastest UPD1 Regional time in the 1,600 (4:37.21) and third-fastest in the 3,200 (10:02.40).

Colin VanderSchaaf, Marquette senior: He’s also won races the last two Finals, the 800 last year and 1,600 as a sophomore (finishing second to his brother last year), and enters this meet with the second-fastest UPD1 Regional times in the 400 (54.11) and 800 (2:06.68) and third-fastest in the 1,600 (4:37.28).

Division 2

Team forecast: Ishpeming has four won straight Division 2 titles (not counting canceled 2020), but Pickford – last season’s UPD3 champion – might be the favorite to continue its streak instead. The Panthers have contenders in several events and also will get help with a number of Bark River-Harris hopefuls slotting into possible high places as well. That said, the Hematites do have qualifiers in 16 events and depth to match anyone in the field.

Caden Awbrey, Pickford senior: He won the 300 hurdles in UPD3 and was second in the 110 last season, also running on championship and runner-up relays. He’ll run on two contending relays this weekend and enters with the UPD2 Regionals third-fastest 300 time (43.97) and fourth-fastest in the 110 (17.63).

Wyatt Demers, Manistique junior: He had a busy 2022 Finals with a relay championship, fifth places in the 100 and 400 and a third in the 200. He could top that as part of two contending relays and entering with the fastest UPD2 Regional times in the 100 (11.5) and 200 (23.24).  

Tramon Gauthier, Ishpeming junior: He played a major role in last year’s team title with a win in the 110 hurdles, second in the 300 and fourth-place long jump, and this weekend he enters with the second-best UPD2 Regional long jump (19-3), second-fastest 110 (16.41) and 300 hurdles (43.34) times and fourth-fastest in the 100 (11.99).

Hayden Hagen, Pickford junior: After also running on a relay champ last year in UPD3 and finishing fourth in the 3,200 and ninth in the 1,600, he’s lined up for a huge meet entering with the top UPD2 Regional times in the 800 (2:14.15), 1,600 (5:03.16) and 3,200 (11:08.89).

David Kozisek, Pickford senior: He could cap his lone season of high school track with one of the most memorable as he enters with the top UPD2 Regional times in the 110 (15.39) and 300 hurdles (42.37) and top high jump (5-10) and long jump (20-7½) as well.  

Owen Lester, St. Ignace junior: The reigning pole vault champion (and seventh-place finisher in the 300 hurdles) posted the top UPD2 Regional pole vault (11-6) by six inches.

Brayden Martin, Ishpeming junior: He had the farthest UPD2 shot put (43-8½) and second-longest discus toss (119-2) at Regionals, after finishing fourth in the shot put at last year’s Finals.

Division 3

Team forecast: There will be a new champion with Pickford in UPD2, with 2022 runner-up Munising coming off a Regional title after falling just nine points shy of catching the Panthers a year ago. The Mustangs have favorites in several events and contenders in most others. Newberry, fifth in UPD2 last season, also looks capable of making serious noise.

Joe Kelley, Munising junior: He finished fifth in the 300 and sixth in the 110 hurdles last season, but could play a massive part Saturday entering with the fastest UPD3 Regional 300 (44.81) and second-fastest time in the 110 (17.06).

Kalvin Kytta, Chassell sophomore: He finished seventh in both the 1,600 and 3,200 and 10th in the 800 as a freshman and also will be expected to score entering with the fastest UPD3 Regional times in the 1,600 (4:48.91) and 3,200 (10:56.07).

Seth Mills, Paradise Whitefish senior: He could become his school’s first Finals champion in this sport as he enters with the top UPD3 Regional discus throw (149-4) by more than 21 feet – and with that toss nearly 40 better than his fifth-place finish in the event a year ago. He also enters with the sixth-best UPD3 Regional shot put (38-5).  

Josiah Peramaki, Munising senior: The reigning pole vault champion also was third in the long jump and fifth in the 200 last season, and he’ll enter this weekend tied with the top UPD3 Regional pole vault (12-0) and also competing on a relay and in the long jump and 100, having posted the third-fastest time (11.73) in the sprint.

Micaiah Peramaki, Munising senior: He became the eighth boys four-time Finals individual champion last year winning the 100, 200, 400 and discus. He could add three more individual titles entering Saturday with UPD3 Regional bests in the 100 (11.24), 200 (23.47) and 400 (53.05) while also running on a contending relay.

Matthew Rahilly, Newberry sophomore: He was fifth in the long jump and ran on two scoring relays in UPD2 as a freshman, and enters this Finals with the best UPD3 Regional long jump (19-9) and tied for the second-best high jump (5-8).

Ian Sundling, Rapid River senior: The reigning long jump champ also finished seventh in high jump last season and will compete in both plus two relays, entering with the third-best UPD3 Regional long jump (19-1).

PHOTO Iron Mountain's Matthew Colavecchi (3) edges Pickford's David Kozisek (2) and Powers North Central's Luke Gorzinski (4) in a 200 heat at the April 17 Superior Dome Invitational. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)