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Horizon League’s best runner is focused on a championship

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Horizon League’s best runner is focused on a championship

courtesy of Oakland University Athletics

courtesy of Oakland University Athletics

courtesy of Oakland University Athletics

Devin Boatwright, Staff Reporter

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Last week, Zach Stadnika, a sophomore at Oakland University on the track and field team, was named the Horizon League’s Athlete of the Week. For him this is only the beginning.

“It was nice to be mentioned,” he said. “For me though, I just have to focus on the end of the season most importantly. It’s an extra perk, something cool I accomplished at the end of the season but let’s hope I can keep improving.”

Stadnika got his start in track and field very early on in his life, but he never thought it would turn into something he would pursue on a collegiate level.

“I started when I was little,” Stadnika said. “It was more distance running like 800s and what not. I don’t really run 800s anymore. In high school I started doing the multi events and being a collegiate athlete became an opportunity. I didn’t think that’d be a reality for me in high school, but it’s definitely awesome to have the opportunity to be here and compete.”

Stadnika is currently ranked 16th in the nation and ranked first in the Horizon League. He doesn’t feel any added pressure with such high rankings, and he is solely focused on the success of him and his team.

“I wouldn’t say it adds more pressure on us,” he said. “We are really focused on winning another championship. The biggest focus right now is playing as a team and being there for each other every day in practice to make sure we’re still in the running at the end of February.”

In the last meet, Stadnika broke one of his own records in the men’s heptathlon. He scored 5,225 points and achieved a personal record in three events. Even with this amazing performance, Stadnika feels he has much more room for improvement and wants to constantly get better.

“It’s kind of hard before conference to play at that level,” Stadnika said. “Now I’m kind of where I want to be, everything sort of fell together. My sprints were very good to start each day and everything was on par, so nothing too outrageous or crazy. I did well but there is a lot of room for improvement.”

Stadnika loves the atmosphere his team has. Everyone cares for each other and wants one another to be successful. This selflessness makes Stadnika and his squad want to compete hard every weekend for each other and is why they are so successful now.

“I just love the team’s atmosphere,” Stadnika said. “We all care about each other and in that type of atmosphere you want to compete with your teammates every week. We’re together for an entire year since the seasons stretch out so you get to know one another and enjoy being around them.”

The track and field team’s next meet will be at Notre Dame at 5:05 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, and then 10:05 a.m. on Saturday, Feb.4.

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Horizon League’s best runner is focused on a championship