Senior distance runner takes on track

Dirt or polyurethane, the surface doesn’t matter for the Wildcats’ distance runner senior Emily Zegar.

Prior to her senior spring semester, Zegar had solely been a cross country runner for the Wildcats.

Improving each year, Zegar qualified for the district meet in the fall of 2012, where the Wildcats placed fourth in the eight-team meet. Zegar finished 54th overall, with a time of 24:49.

“Our women’s team just didn’t pull it together as well as we could have,” Zegar said.

With her success in cross country in the fall, Zegar attempted something she had not done since her days at Sprague High School. She started running track.

“There are differences between the two,” Zegar said. “In cross country you run a set distance. In track, however, there are multiple races to compete in.”

“[A] huge difference between the two, one that I didn’t think I would like, is that in track you know exactly how fast you’re going every lap. You know if you’re speeding up or slowing down and you can compare each week’s race with the past week’s. In cross country, however, every race is different because the terrain and courses are all unique from one another.”

Running the “dead dog” workouts and finishing the optional two miles at the end, the team drives out early in the morning in vans to run up hills of
gravel roads.

“I was so relieved to reach the yellow gate where some of my teammates were cheering me on to finish—it was probably one of the best running highs ever,” Zegar said.

Carrying over her success from the fall, Zegar was able to qualify for the Northwest Conference Championships in the 5,000 and 10,000-meter races.

Zegar saved her best performance for last in the 10,000-meter. The senior ran the race in 41:31.31, setting a new personal record and finishing 17th.

Zegar also set a personal record earlier in the 2013 track season in the 5,000-meter, running a 18:58, breaking her 20-minute goal.

“This year was my break through year. I really discovered how to tap into what drives me as a runner, and grew a lot stronger as an athlete,” Zegar said.

Concluding her athletic career at Linfield, Zegar has a lot to reminisce about.

“I have truly loved being able to be a part of the distance team at Linfield. I’ve created life-long friendships with such hardworking people who I can share the deep bond of running with, Zegar said.

“It has been a lot of hard work and required a lot of commitment, not to mention taxing on my body, but it has definitely been one of the best decisions I have made at Linfield.”

 

Chris Haddeland/Senior reporter

Chris Haddeland can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.