It is rare for a student to win a state championship in their high school career. Seniors Zach Stewart and Jack Spamer have accomplished that and much more this year. In early November, the Boys Cross Country team captured a state title, led by Spamer and Stewart. Now, after both placing top 10 in a regional competition, they are headed to the Cross Country National Championship in California.
For Stewart, it has taken years of time and dedication to his sport in order to get to the level he is at today, and it hasn’t been easy for him. “We were running 60 miles a week, doing double days, running in the morning, running on the weekends,” Stewart said. However, the grind that the athletes went through paid off in the long run.
Stewart placed 17th in the national race last year. “Going was just a learning experience,” he said. “I wasn’t really fighting for a national championship at that point, but it was good to just go and learn for this year.”
Being a returning runner has its advantages. Stewart ran the same course as last year, so he is already prepared for his upcoming course. “You definitely know what to expect going into it,” Stewart said. “If you can get yourself in a good position then you can have yourself a really good race.”
Unlike Stewart, this is Jack Spamer’s first time racing at the Foot Locker National Event. “I’m expecting a lot of good competition and definitely a fast field of guys,” he said.
However, with some help from his teammate, he will be able to have an idea of what to expect. “Being able to train with him and everything, it’s great to have someone that does the same thing as you,” he said.
A high placement in this race would do a lot for both of these young runners’ careers. “I’d say it’s a confidence booster,” said Spamer. “It’s something to close out a good senior season with.”
Both athletes will be running together in college, with both of them committing to the University of Michigan. However, the first step is going to be winning one final race in their high school career. “I think we both want to win a national title,” said Stewart. “It’ll just come down to who has a better race.”