GREENSBORO, NC – A junior, a high school student-athlete who just now has completed his second year of running track competitively – has blown away the Norwich High School record books, en route to a nationals competition berth.
And better yet, not just a nationals berth, but Race finished his 2017 outdoor track and field season by taking seventh-place at the 26th annual New Balance Outdoor Nationals – in the 200m dash.
That’s right – Zack Race is currently the seventh fastest sprinter in the United States of America at the Emerging Elite level, in the 200m dash.
“I’m focusing on getting a PR (personal record),” said Race, prior to the preliminary heat of the men’s Emerging Elite division of the 200m dash. “If I do, I should be in good shape as far as making finals.”
Coming into nationals, Race’s fastest FAT (computerized) time in the 200m dash was clocked at a 21.83. This mark just narrowly qualified the Tornado sprinter for the Emerging Elite category, which has a standard of 21.54 to 21.84.
Race currently holds the following school records: the NHS record in the 100m (10.7 hand held, 10.93 FAT), 200m (21.83 FAT), 4x100m relay (43.48 FAT) – the REK record in the 100m (11.03 FAT), 200m (22.42 FAT) and 4x100m relay (44.39 FAT) – the Ulrich Facility record in the 100m (10.8 hand, 11.03 FAT), 200m (21.9 hand time) and 4x100m relay (44.39 FAT).
Simply put, Zack Race is the fastest sprinter Norwich has ever seen – or hasn’t seen if you blink during one of his races.
“Honestly, I was there taking it all in, it’s hard to be nervous and psyched out when in the meantime you’re watching the greatest athletes in the country compete. The experience was unbelievable,” said Race of competing at nationals in North Carolina this past weekend.
Heat three, running in lane eight – Zack Race readied himself for the race of his life.
Race flew around the corner, slingshotting himself to the straightaway – managing a fourth-place finish in his heat, and running a time of 21.88.
However, a fourth-place finish meant that Race was moving on to the finals in the event.
That’s right. A Norwich student-athlete, who just recently turned 17-years old, moving on to the finals on the biggest stage in outdoor track and field – save the Olympics.
Guaranteed to be ranked in the top eight in all of the United States – Race took some time on Saturday to prepare for his finals competition at 2:40 p.m. Once again, Race barely squeaked into the finals – much like nationals itself – as heading into finals Race was seeded eighth. This mark of being seeded eighth wouldn’t deter Race in the slightest way, on his quest for bettering himself each and every time he steps on a track.
“I wish I could’ve ran a better time in finals and fought my way to the sixth spot so I could have made podium, but I really wasn’t supposed too make it there in the first place. So ultimately I placed seventh overall,” said Race.
Race took to the track at 2:40 p.m. on Saturday, June 17. Lining up in lane one, Race truly was not supposed to be there – per his own words.
After just barely qualifying for nationals by a mere tenth of a second – one would think that that would mean said runner would be at the bottom of the competition. However, Race simply keeps surprising his competition and audiences alike.
Race finished in seventh-place out of a total of 31 runners, running a 22.08 FAT time in the Emerging Elite division for the 200m dash finals. On most other stages, a seventh-place finish would feel like defeat – however, taking seventh at nationals is a totally different story.
Thinking that the young track star is ready to take some time off finally? Think again, as this season has been nothing short of a warm up for what is to come during Race’s senior campaign.
“Now that my season is over, I’m jumping back into off-season work with Coach (Tom) Stoddard in the weight room,” said Race of preparing for his upcoming senior year of football. “The weights are a crucial point for developing explosiveness and I love spending time in there with my boys. I’m also going too continue doing workouts throughout the summer and run in meets with Bolts (Norwich YMCA).”
Race will be staying busy this summer, continuing to improve for his senior year in both football and track and field. However, despite all the praise and quick climb to glory – Race has not forgot what has helped him succeed at such a high level, in such a short time.
“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities given to me over the past two seasons of track and field. I’d like too thank everyone for all the support. Especially my coaches, teammates, friends and my family,” said Race.
Full results, as well as a live feed of the 26th annual New Balance Outdoor Nationals can be found online at: www.nbnationalsout.com/