It has been quite high school career for St. Mark’s indoor track standout Zach Schmelz, and it’s fitting he ended his senior season taking home one of his most impressive accolades after being named Indoor Track Athlete of the Year at the All-State Banquet earlier this month.
The Hockessin Community News sat down with Zach to talk about his career on the track and his future plans.
Schmelz started his senior season with a bang etching his name in the record books after posting a time of 48.94 seconds in the 400 meter which is good enough for second all-time in Delaware and the 20th fastest time in the nation.
Primarily participating in the 200m, 400m and occasionally the 100m and 800m, as well as the long and high jump, Schmelz shined on the brightest stage of them all, the state championships.
Schmelz took home two gold, one silver and one bronze medal at this year’s state championships. The senior standout won the 400 meter dash (49.95 seconds), and high jump (6 feet), placed second in the 200 meter dash (22.45 seconds), and third in the long jump (21 feet, 1 inch).
While acclimating himself to the competition level in high school Schmelz made improvements over his freshmen and sophomore years. Though, according to his head coach Tom McCartan he knew from the beginning that Zach was a special kind of runner who really began to come into his own in his junior season.
“I knew Zach was a special athlete from the beginning,” said McCartan. “It took him time to develop but he is gifted with incredible speed.”
“To be selected Athlete of the Year is a wonderful honor for Zach,” said McCartan. “He really broke through as a junior so I’m not surprised at all by his success.”
Schmelz admits that there was a tangible difference to his game during his junior year when all of his hard work and practice began to pay off.
“Half way through the year I figured out that if I ran a certain way and pushed myself a little harder that I improved a lot,” Schmelz said.
After seeing some exciting results as a junior, Schmelz ramped up his preparation during the offseason which he believes helped make the difference for him during his spectacular senior season.
“The preparation for this year was different, over the summer I never really worked out,” said Schmelz. “During this past summer I lifted weights and did some different things to prepare.”
Starting as a novice fourth-grader at St. John the Beloved and transitioning to high school level competition as a freshmen at St. Mark’s, Schmelz has truly worked for every accolade earned.
“In grade school I was pretty much the best one in the CYM,” said Schmelz. “Then, coming into high school I was nowhere near the top so it was kind of weird being at the bottom again.”
While he may have started at the bottom, he twice rose to the top. And he plans to do it again aspiring to compete at the collegiate level.
“I definitely want to run in college,” said Schmelz. “I’m hoping to go to Villanova, they’re at the top of my list.”