Zinkan and boys cross country make history


Calvin Prenkert

Senior Wilson Zinkan warms up before the start of the 2018 IHSAA cross country sectional championships at Bedford North Lawrence.

Calvin Prenkert , Editor

As the third ranked boys Cross Country team boarded the bus to Terre Haute for their final race of the season, many knew that the culmination of a historic season would solidify itself later that day. Seven runners, six upperclassmen, knew that what they hoped to accomplish was finally before them. Among them was senior Wilson Zinkan, a fixture in the top three all season long.

Zinkan, a varsity runner for three seasons, battled sickness his sophomore year and injury his junior year, keeping him out of South’s final contests. This year, Zinkan stayed healthy. Missing the state meet this year would not be an option for him. With the team being so highly touted, impressing enough to be ranked at the top spot at one point during the season, Zinkan’s absence would mean a significant drop in the chance to grab a state championship.

“It meant a lot more to me to be able to run having been on the other side of things and having to watch the state meet last year,”  Zinkan said

The Panthers, fresh off a season where they landed one away from the podium at the state meet, had battled injuries and uncertainty for much of the season. Normal top four runner and junior Josh Miller was in and out the line up during the midseason, and junior Mason Moore had to battle his way to claim the final varsity spot right before the postseason began. Combine all of this with coach Larry Williams hopes to have the squad be the first to podium during his 35 year tenure, and it would be safe to say the stakes were high.

South’s top runner, Ian Shaw, performed well, notching a 13th place finish. Junior Jack Gillard came in 41st, and Zinkan, finally getting the chance to run in his first state meet, capitalized, finishing 53rd in 16:41.

Shaw, Gillard and Zinkan combined with the solid performances of senior Matthew Kawanishi, sophomore Neal Alderson and Miller and Moore to give south the edge. The Panther squad had earned a top five finish and a spot on the podium.

“Being on the podium was an incredible feeling because all of our work, not just this year but everything building up to this year in the last few years,” Zinkan said. “Even though we didn’t run our best race we were able to hang on enough to be up there which is a testament to the toughness of the guys. We were all so happy to be up there.”

This was South’s best finish since 1981 when the team finished fourth. Now, nearly four decades later, the 2019 South boy’s Cross Country team will hold a special place in South history.

The boys cross country team lines up at the starting line before the 2018 IHSAA sectional championship race at Bedford North Lawrence.