There was something about the WIAA state track and field meet that always made Zach Blahnik feel a bit uneasy.
Perhaps it was the endless the anticipation of warm-ups or the pressure of being a top seed in the Division 3 discus every year since he was a sophomore.
Whatever it was, Blahnik wanted to make sure he felt at home during his fourth and final state appearance this year, so he brought a slice of it with him to La Crosse.
The morning of the first day of competition, Blahnik lined his Super 8 motel room with all the comforts of Algoma, setting up his Playstation 3, popping in Battlefield 3 and letting his mind drift away from the track.
A two-time state champion in the shot put, Blahnik failed to qualify in the event after battling a persistent groin injury, but still entered as the top seed in the D3 discus once more.
However, Blahnik’s feelings toward the discus were mixed. He scratched on all three preliminary throws at state during his sophomore year before taking second as a junior despite having his worst showing of the season.
With one last shot at redemption, he didn’t leave anything to chance. Fully decompressed and rejuvenated, a relaxed Blahnik not only captured his first state title in the event but also broke the D3 state record with a toss of 175 feet, 6 inches.
For his efforts, Blahnik is the 2012 Press-Gazette boys track and field athlete of the year.” via Press-Gazette boys track and field athlete of the year: Blahnik wraps career with discus title | Green Bay Press Gazette | greenbaypressgazette.com.
Zach, too, is a great kid and I’m grateful for the way he’s taken my son Quin under his wing and helped him along…