AVA ZINDLER HAD A BREAKOUT SEASON IN CROSS COUNTRY IN 2020, HELPING LEAD THE CRUSADERS TO SILVER AS A TEAM AT THE TAPPS STATE CROSS COUNTRY MEET
The junior finished 15th overall and looks to carry the proverbial baton in 2021 as the captain of the team. Zindler has an easy-going demeanor but don't be fooled, she's as competitive as they come on the course.
VYPE caught up with the three-sport athlete this spring.
VYPE: Concordia Lutheran had a tremendous finish in cross country this year. Were you surprised?
ZINDLER: I was expecting to have success. We were training for so long and our coaches pushed us along the way. We were hoping to do great things and the hard work paid off.
VYPE: How important was chemistry to the success of your season?
ZINDLER: It's so important. Sometimes you might be having an off-day or your teammate is having an off-day. You have to rely on your other teammates sometimes and you can't be selfish if you are the one slowing down the team. We pick each other up and that is so key.
VYPE: What is it that drew you to the sport of cross country?
ZINDLER: There is such satisfaction at the end of a race that you were able to complete that feat. It takes heart to compete in this sport and you learn a lot about yourself.
VYPE: What does it take to be an elite long-distance runner?
ZINDLER: It's very mental and a lot of times it hurts, but you just have to push through it. When you are in the middle of the race and you have a mile to go, you just have to really focus and it really goes pretty fast.
VYPE: Outside of cross country and track what do you do? What does the future hold?
ZINDLER: I'm also on varsity tennis, so the seasons don't really overlap. It's pretty easy to time manage it. As far as the future goes, I'd love to run in college. The communication is going really well with that.
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Klein Cain came out of nowhere last season as coach Kristen Lemoine took over a squad with some untapped talent.
In her first season, she went three rounds deep making school history. Gone is District Hitter MVP Jenna Karp, but that's the world of high school sports.
Who will step up next?
Kharys Grice is a pretty good candidate after a year in which she was the District Newcomer of the Year. She can play all the way around, hitting, blocking and digging with some of the best in the district.
Coach Lemoine also returns first teamer Paris Dixon, another lethal hitter.
Defensively, the Hurricanes are led by Paige Strole (second-team). Kayden Creager, Courtney Carter and Rory Sadosky are ready to leave their legacy on the program.
"Our strength is going to be experience and leadership in our senior class," Lemoine said.
Cain will make the postseason, but they want a district title which goes through Klein.