UW-W jumper Zaeske long on talent
WHITEWATER -- It took Cory Zaeske awhile to find his niche among his many athletic talents. Once he figured that out, Zaeske has jumped at the chance, as in the long and high jumps.
The senior competes for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater men's track and field team after excelling at East Troy High School.
Zaeske played baseball and basketball for the Trojans, but football and track were his calling cards as he captained both squads his final two years and was recruited in both sports.
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Despite his somewhat circuitous journey, Zaeske is happy with how everything worked out.
“I participated in baseball my freshman year instead of track, but by my sophomore year some teachers convinced me that track was the right path,” said Zaeske, who ended up qualifying for the WIAA state meet three times, including winning the Division 2 high jump title as a senior in 2010. “I took third place (at state) in the 400-meter dash my junior and senior year and set school records in the 200, 400 and high jump.
Surprisingly, I was not a good long jumper in high school.
“I actually wanted to go to UW-La Crosse but never got accepted there,” Zaeske said. "I had offers from (NCAA) Division-II schools such as Minnesota State-Mankato, but all of the offers were to play football and none of them were a sufficient amount of money. I chose Whitewater because of the convenience being close to home. I really liked what Mankato had to offer, but they were just too far away. I originally came here to play football, but after working out with the team for two weeks I decided it wasn't for me and set up a meeting with coach Mike Johnson. I asked if I could do track and he said absolutely and that he thought I could be successful if I put the time and effort in.
“I started out my freshman year as a pentathlete, but the coaches realized that it wasn't for me and decided to have me just do long jump and high jump,” he added. “My best event would definitely be long jump, considering I am a four-time All-American. But I really do enjoy doing both.”
And it's shown. Zaeske's recent accomplishments include finishing second in the high jump (6-91/2) and fourth in the long jump (23-4) at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Association indoor championships; UW-W teammate and Badger High School alum Justin Bowers won the latter event (23-101/4).
Zaeske also participated in the D-III national indoor meet March 14 and March 15 in Nebraska, tying for 12th in the high jump at 6-41/4 and finishing fifth and earning All-America status with his effort of 23-13/4 in the long jump.
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