Salute To Seniors: Zach Herriott - Rockhurst
The 2010 Cross Country State Championship is my most memorable race. I have had the opportunity to compete at so many awesome places, like Forest Park and the Kansas Relays. And I've had great races at both meets. However, nothing tops winning the State Championship. There are so many pre-race nerves and so many expectations. If you let it get to you, it can really kill you. I let the nerves get to me Senior year and I raced poorly. But on that one day in 2010, nothing got to me, and everything clicked just right.
Who was your biggest competition?
My biggest competition was my mind. I am a very mental racer. If I don't have a good mindset before a race, I probably won't race well. But if I am extremely focused and excited to go out and compete, the results have normally been good. The mental aspect of training and racing far outweighs the physical aspect. If you have mental toughness, the sky is the limit.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments which stands out the most?
Two accomplishments stand out in my mind. Getting All-American at NXN my senior year will always be one of my favorite milestones because it shows how far I've come along. It was always a dream of mine to get All-American but I wasn't sure how attainable it was. But to cross the line and find out I was in the top 10 was crazy. But getting 2nd as a team at state in cross country my senior year meant more to me than any individual race. Our group of seniors came in to Rockhurst and completely changed the culture there. We went from being happy to get to state, to competing for a state title. We helped raise the bar and hopefully left a mark on the program that many will remember for years to come.
The most difficult obstacle I've had to overcome is dealing with pressure. Over the past few years, I allowed people to place expectations on me, and I found myself running to impress people or live up to their expectations. It was hard for me to run for my team and myself because I didn't want to disappoint anyone.
I will miss the friends I've made here, especially my teammates. I've loved getting to know a lot of my competitors over the past few years, and the bond that my team and I have built is really special and I hope we can always remember the great times we've had together.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
My biggest advice is to challenge yourself and set high goals. If someone sets a goal they know they will reach, they won't work as hard. But if someone sets a goal that seems like a long shot, or maybe even impossible, it will force them to constantly be working towards that goal. Always having goals is by far the most important part of the sport. Coach Dierks has always stressed that and his advice helped me immensely.
What are your college plans?
I will be attending the University of Oklahoma. I'll be running cross country and indoor/outdoor track. The goal is to win a cross country national championship as a team in the next four years. Academically, I am undecided on a major. I'm going to explore my passions for a while and see what interests me.
Want to be featured in our Salute To Seniors series? Email PEverett@milesplit.com and answer the questions above! Congratulations to the class of 2012 on all their hard work and success.