Zac Haley Sprints into Columbus!


Damyen Fuchilla, Editor

The OHSAA State Cross Country meet is this Saturday at Fortress Obetz and Memorial Park in Columbus. Only 15 individuals and five teams will be competing from the area and one of them is Lakeview’s very own junior Zac Haley.

Haley isn’t the first Lakeview runner to compete at state in recent memory. Eric Harris ran in 2012 followed by Nate Charnas in 2019.

Haley talked to The Bulldog Bulletin about his excitement and preparations for his state run.

Leading up to this state trip, Haley recorded one of his personal running bests.

I finished 3rd at districts with a time of 16:42,” Haley said. “That was definitely the best race I’ve run and it gave me the confidence I needed leading up to Regionals.”

 Haley doesn’t hold any real superstitions about his running strategies, but he does have a set pre-meet routine and before every meet he eats two specific foods.

I eat mandarin orange fruit cups and a peanut butter sandwich,” Haley said.  “The sandwich is something that most runners eat, but the fruit cup is something that I believe helps me run fast.”

Prior to lining up he has a routine to get his body ready for the run.

I try to keep everything the same with my warm up which is a mile and a half jog followed by some stretches and sprints to get my heart rate up,” Haley added.

On the road leading up to this career highlight, Haley has inspired his teammates.

Sophomore Josh Hudson said, “I won’t ever forget about Zac, who is one of the best runners I have ever seen in person. Zac Rules the Team because he has good work ethic and is always training.”

Freshman Tommy Pavlansky said, “He’s the fastest guy on the team, lives in my neighborhood, and he always pumps us up before a big race. He’s encouraged me to do my best every race and always go for my best time.

Passing on a strong running tradition is not new to the Lakeview cross country team as Haley reports getting inspiration from recent Lakeview graduates he trained with.

I think Nate Woofter and Caleb Carlson have had the biggest impact on me,” Haley said. “When I ran with them they showed me how important training is and I have followed in their footsteps with taking my training seriously.

 But Haley will be without teammates running with him on Saturday and will need to adjust mentally to running alone in a crowd of new faces. 

I don’t notice much of a difference while I’m running, but before the race starts it’s an entirely different feeling not having my boys ready to race with me,” Haley said. “We get to the starting line 15 minutes early and without my teammates there I can’t really talk to anyone to keep myself from getting nervous, so I usually make conversation with any other individual runners in my box.

Haley won’t be completely alone because he will have others cheering him on from the crowd of spectators.

I’m taking all of my teammates who can go, which is all but two, because they have something with band, but I want them to experience the atmosphere at state so they aren’t shocked by anything next year.”

And Haley has big plans for himself and his teammates next year.

Next year I’m going after school records. If I don’t get the school record of 15:53, I would at least like to get close to that and get under 16 minutes,” Haley said.  “Team wise next year I have two goals: I want to leave the team with a group of boys that want to train and be the best runner they can be, and I want us to go to state as a team.”

The Bulldog Bulletin wishes Zac the best of luck on Saturday and all of Lakeview thanks him for his strong leadership!