Extended version of Spartan Classic track and field meet story

(added to what appeared in the April 28, 2012, Lansing State Journal)

by Matt Boivin, for the Lansing State Journal

EAST LANSING – Zach Zingsheim missed most of his freshman season after fracturing his pelvis. This year, the Lansing Catholic senior helped his team break six school records and capture a third place finish at the Spartan Classic at Michigan State University on Friday.

Zingsheim’s first place time of 1:54.03 in the 800 meter run gave his team one of their school records and momentum as the Cougars finished with 74.75 points as a team.

Auburn Bay City Western took first with 96.5 points, followed by Rockford with 95. Williamston came in fourth with 70 points.

“This is one of my favorite meets of the year,” said Zingsheim. “I had so many friends, family and supporters here. They circled the entire track. . . I credit them.”

From injured list to record books

Zingsheim also ran in the 4 x 200 meter relay, which the Cougars took first in and set a school record with a time of 1:29.67. Ironically, it was in a 4 x 200 meter relay, the first outdoor meet of his freshman season, that Zingsheim suffered a fractured pelvis.

Cold weather caused his muscles to be stiff, and during Zingsheim’s second lap with the baton his hip flexor muscle went so rigid it tore apart an upper section of his hipbone.

“There was a time in my life I never thought I would run again,” said Zingsheim who underwent eight months of physical therapy after the injury to his pelvis his senior year. “Everybody was just so dedicated to get me back. It means to me everything to be able to do this after what I’ve gone through.”

Another success story was senior Jimmy Hicks who set a Cougar school record with his second place finish of 9:21.43 in the 3200 meter run.

“It means everything, the school record,” said Hicks whose teammates and friends mobbed him with jubilant shouts after he crossed the finish line. “I told my coach sophomore year I was going to break the record and I finally did it. I can’t even put into words how happy I am.”

The Cougars also set new school records in the 4 x 100 relay, 4 x 400 relay and in girls pole vault.

Tough competition leads to growth

Thirteen schools, seven of them local, competed in the meet, which took place under the lights at Ralph Young Field.

Grosse Pointe South claimed the top girls team score with a 141.75, followed by Rockford with 128.5 and DeWitt claimed the third spot with 72.

Tori Desira led the way for the Panthers, taking first in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles.

“I was nervous going in because I wasn’t ranked first,” said Desira after running a 15.06 in the 100 meter hurdles. “It helps when I want to win.”

The DeWitt senior won both hurdle events last year and said a lot of the preparation for an event like the Spartan Classic is psychological.

Fellow senior, Kalya Hanses also showed a winning mentality for the Panthers, taking fifth in the 1600 meter run with a personal best time of 5:12.21 and fourth in the 3200 meter run with a 11:18.95.

“I just decided I would go out kind of conservative because there’s a lot of good runners,” said Hanses. “Every lap I tried to pick it up a little bit and catch the person ahead of me so the competition really helped.”

Host Grand Ledge finished sixth overall, with 46.75 points, among girls team scores behind Okemos (51) and Williamston (65). They were seventh overall in boys team scores with 54 points.

Grand Ledge finds success amidst challenges

Grand Ledge sophomore, Hannah Orwat, was the top local finisher in the 800 meter run taking fourth place with a time of 2:26.00.

“I was excited to run against some sweet people from Grosse Pointe,” said Orwat. “I just really tried my hardest to stick with them and run my own race.”

Grosse Pointe took first place in seven of the races and set a state record of 8:59.69 in the 3200 meter relay.

Girls coach Fred Hutchinson said the best part about the Spartan Classic for the Comets is the chance for them to measure themselves against some of the top runners and teams in the state.

“This meet really helps give us a good idea of where we’re at,” said Hutchinson.

Throughout the event, which lasted for more than six and a half hours, and even longer for those who organized it, the cheers of friends and family members continued from the sidelines.

Tony Rasegan, the father of Williamston junior Raelynn, stood near the finish line most of the afternoon taking pictures of the Hornets athletes as they came down the stretch.

“Both my wife and I ran track in high school, so I just want to see her do what we did,” said Rasegan.

Raelynn ran a 12:19.31 in the 3200 meter relay, the second best time for the Hornets in the event.

To see all the results of the Spartan Classic visit www.playmakers.com.

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