Justin Zimmerman

Justin Zimmerman (“JZ”) won the State 4A 800 this past weekend adding his name to the extensive list of Ferris Saxon past champions and legendary performers. JZ’s win capped-off a monumental senior year with the Saxons winning the Greater Spokane League, East Region, and 4A State Cross titles, finishing second at Nike Team Nationals missing the top spot by six points, and finally winning 4A 800 State title.



JZ has been documenting his and Ferris’s story on his Blog “Ferrisxc.blogspot.com” and twitter often including Ferris’s workouts, much to chagrin of Coach Hadway who put the smack down on that. It has been a pleasure following the ups and downs of JZ and Ferris all year to his final race…



Right before Pasco, JZ rolled his ankle running the 4x400 in a GSL dual meet and went into the Invite hobbled where he was out leaned by Auburn-Riverside’s Kenny Krotzer in the 800. He spent the next few weeks of the season hurt and unable to do hard workouts. Finally recovered he went into the post season on a mission…to win the title.



In the finals of the 800, he held back not taking up his usual place in the front of the pack but instead slipped into the middle (very un-Saxon like.) On the back stretch of the final lap he started to move the front ready to kick. “I went too early at Pasco, so I wanted to wait until the 150 mark to kick” JZ explained after the race “but I got impatient and went early anyway.” That move propelled him to victory.



I was at the finish line and after he caught his breath the first thing he said was “Did that just happen? Did I just win the State Meet? Unbelievable!” Yes Justin you are the State Champion…



Justin graduates this weekend and is headed to WSU in the fall to run for the Cougars.



Can you tell me a little about your school and team?



“Ferris has a great running tradition from Rick Riley to NC’s coach Jon Knight. Ferris has many XC team & individual titles. It’s well known that we have to compete against the best in the nation every week. You either put in the miles or get slaughtered on Wednesdays in the fall.”


When did you start running?



“I ran a little in grade school but mainly played soccer. Wasn’t really a good soccer player but I could beat everyone to the ball (They would catch me & take it J) I went out for track in 8th grade & coach Fuller showed me the ropes. I didn’t lose that year & won all-city in the 400m & medley. I was hooked”


What is your favorite hard workout?



“My favorite workout is the ladder workouts on the track. We would do them at least once a week preferably on Monday and they consisted of doing a 800m 600m 400m 300m 200m 100m and back up to 800m the rest would be a nice 200m jog to get the heart rate down and the repeats would be at goal race pace, so Coach would tweak the times to consist of about a 1:59 800m, and of course a 3 mile warm up 2 mile cool down.”


What has been your most memorable race?



“The most memorable races would have to be both cross country state and track state. I will always remember the look on everyone’s face when we found out we won state in cross country and I will never forget the feeling of crossing the finish line at state in track and throwing up my arms in relief to know that I am finally a state champion.”


Are you running cross-country at WSU?



“Yes, I will be running/training cross country at WSU.  I’m still focused on middle distance, but you have to run the long miles to compete in the short ones.”


JZ with former Saxon Star and current Coug David Hickerson


Do you have goals next year?



“I want to make it to the Pac 10 championships and place, but first I just want to break that 1:50 in the 800m, hopefully during the indoor meets I’ll be able to crack that one.”


What is your favorite class/subject?



“My favorite subject is history.”


Who is your favorite band/singer?





“My favorite bands would be the ones I blasted out to 10 min before I raced at state and nationals…All That Remains and also Bullet For My Valentine. Hard rock always pumps me up and keeps me from getting too nervous before a race.”  


What is your favorite movie?



“300!  An epic movie and a great one to watch the night before a race to get you pumped up!”


Any bits of wisdom or words of advice you would like to share with other runners?


"Just to run the miles. It's no secret, you earn the medals in the summer and receive them in the fall."



“Thanks for the interview John! I would also like to thank my coaches… Hadway, Fisher, Bell & Fuller!


Coach Hadway always believed in me & pushed me to be a better runner/man.  He’s the reason that I am a state champ; he refocused me after the loss at state last year & helped me get my confidence back.  Hadway is the reason that I had such a great high school career. I met a great coach & made a great friend! Thanks Hadway!!!”


JZ and Coaches!