The Press Newspaper
Zack Powell is leading the Lake boys cross-country to places they haven’t been
in a long time.
Thanks in large part to Powell and fellow senior Louis Szilagyi, Lake will be participating in the regional tournament as a team for the first time since 1998. Powell finished first at the district tournament, the same place he has finished in every race except one this year.
“Everything just kind of fell into place that day,” Lake’s second-year head coach said. “We had a couple of individual surprises in Steve Stanley and Riley Breese, who set a personal record.”
Szilagyi, the team’s No. 2 runner, finished fifth at districts and qualified for regionals as an individual, along with Powell.
It all starts with Powell, though, who has vastly improved on his individual accomplishments from last season.
“It’s phenomenal,” Powell said. “I honestly never thought I would be doing this well. I never thought I had a chance. I thought it was only for ‘one of those fast kids up there.’ I was thinking, ‘they’re nuts.’ Now, I’m the one being talked about like that, and it’s kind of nice.”
Powell has worked hard to improve from last year. He finished 16th at the SLL’s last year, 22nd at districts, and 48th at the Tiffin meet. This year, he won every race except the Tiffin meet.
“It really became a thing where I wanted to get in shape,” Powell said. “Until my junior year in track, I didn’t see myself competing and doing well. This is the way it’s turned out.”
Mysinger attributes Powell’s turnaround to dedication.
“He’s dedicated himself to getting up at 5:45 a.m. and running for 45 minutes since last Dec. 1,” Mysinger said. “That carried over to track, where he was a regional qualifier.”
Powell said that Mysinger was behind the morning run, and he has been a big influence on himself and the team.
“He’s definitely helped out in the morning,” Powell said. “It was his idea to get out there and run. He’s been running since he was little, and he definitely knows a lot more than us.”
So, after the regional track meet, the cross-country team began summer training on June 11.
“He’s ran 30-45 minutes throughout the summer in the heat, and he also does an afternoon run for 30-45 minutes,” Mysinger said. “Along with the improvement comes the confidence for him. He’s proven he can.”
The senior athlete, who has taken two minutes off of last year’s time and hopes to take 20 more seconds off, competes in wrestling besides cross country and track. He said that he is actually better at track than cross country.
“I’ve gotten in better shape, though, therefore cross country is the best right now,” Powell said.
Powell already knows about dedication from his work in the classroom. He carries a 4.1 gpa and hopes to either be an engineer or a math teacher. He’s unsure where he wants to go, but he said two things are for sure – he definitely wants to go and he won’t go anywhere that doesn’t have cross country and track.
This weekend, though, is the regional tournament at Tiffin. Mysinger said Powell’s first goal is to qualify for state.
“He should be in the top 3-5,” Mysinger said. “He’s got a shot.”
As far as the team, Mysinger said his team is excited. The top four teams and 16 individuals make it to state.
“They’re thinking they have an outside shot to make it to state,” he said. “I really hope their dreams come true. It’s going to be a challenge.”
Mysinger will miss his two outstanding seniors, though, in Powell and Szilagyi. The team has more members than in years past, and Mysinger said that the accomplishments of the two seniors are pushing the younger kids to attain the same as them.
“I don’t want to let them graduate,” he said. “They are great leaders. There are not enough superlatives to describe what kind of leaders and people that they are.”
For Powell, this season won’t end until state if he has anything to do with it.
“All year, I’ve definitely been ready and driven to make the team go and take the team to state,” he said. “I want to place in the top five at states.”