Zack earned First Team All-American honors last June at the NCAA Championships with an eighth-place finish in the long jump with a season-best mark of 7.58m (25-10.5). He was the 2015 Big Ten Indoor Freshman of the Year after winning gold at the conference meet. He was named a USTFCCCA Academic All-American in 2015 and a Ohio State Scholar-Athlete last year.
How did you decide to come to OSU?
It was around February during my senior year of high school, my guidance counselor approached me about a coach calling from Ohio State. At the time I only had one scholarship offer, I started track and became alright late in the game. I didn’t know anything about Ohio State back then, nothing. If you asked me what’s a Buckeye, I wouldn’t have had a clue. Anyway, after some research, a visit, meeting my coach, and being informed about the reputation, it was a wrap.
How long have you been doing your sport?
Officially my junior year of high school. I wasn’t always the best right away, but as I got more into it, I developed a lot more.
Do you have any pre-game/match superstitions or rituals?
I wouldn’t call it a ritual, but I have a routine. So usually I would wake up an hour before my departure, most times it’s around noon. Coaches always encourage us to get some breakfast. When I’m up, I go to the fridge, and drink some chocolate milk. Then, I take a nice long shower. After the shower, I take my time getting dressed, pack all my stuff, then head to the bus. If I’m still hungry I’ll get something else to eat before I compete, but the chocolate milk usually gets the job done.
What is your favorite part about your sport?
I can’t decide but winning, competing, hitting the marks I want, they are all up there. I also look forward to conference, regional and nationals because I know there is going to be a stage and the competition is going to be trill.
What is the hardest thing about sport?
Injury is the hardest thing about sports, in my opinion. So this preseason, it went alright. I got stronger, things were going good, but I found out a couple weeks ago that I need surgery, so my indoor season is done. So, I’ve just been rehabbing at French Field House. Knowing that you put all this work in, thinking the season is going to go well, then you find some news like this, that’s hard.
How do you balance athletics and academics?
Personally, I believe if you are a scholarship athlete, you better have athletics in order and producing. I’ve been involved with sports since a young age, so practice, training, and competition has never been a problem. School is another story. I used to be an honor student, Academic All-American, scholar athlete, but things have been slipping (a factor of stress and old age). I plan on making a comeback though.
Why did you choose your major?
When I came to OSU, I came in as undecided. Late in my second year I declared as an animal science major. I always had a thing for animals and aspirations on becoming a veterinarian. 2016 hit me and I realized I didn’t want to pursue that field anymore for several reasons. Long story short, I switch to Agribusiness and Applied Economics. I want to switch again.
What is your favorite study spot on campus?
I have several spots but they are confidential. Sometimes I go off campus as well.
What is your favorite class you have taken here so far?
Freshman year I got permission from instructor David Terman to take math 4350, Quantitative Neuroscience. It was very challenging. Pulled out a B-, without a curve.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Brooklyn’s Pizza (Hackensack, N.J.)
Describe OSU in one word.
OSU doesn’t deserve a one word description.