Zinnerman sets own bar high
RCís standout high jumper eyes return to CIF state meet
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By Kelli Davis  May 23, 2014 12:00 am

Justin Zinnerman is one of the most promising and successful young athletes currently at Rancho Cotate High School. 

The 17-year-old junior, arguably the most prominent member of the Rancho Cotate track and field team, competes in several events, but it is in the high-jump pit where he truly excels. With the North Coast Section Track and Field Redwood Area Meet taking place this weekend, Zinnerman hopes, actually, expects to finish in the top three and advance to next weekend’s Meet of Champions at UC Berkeley.

Zinnerman already knows what it’s like to compete at the highest level, having qualified as a sophomore for the California Interscholastic Federation Track and Field Championships last year. Thus far, he has the best jump in the entire NCS at 6-feet-9 inches. Zinnerman, according to his coach, John Anderson, has stepped up his game in all phases.

“(Zinnerman) was a state-meet qualifier last year and he’s better this year. He’s having a great season,” Anderson said.

All his hard work has paid off, as he has drawn interest from major universities and has been invited to compete in high-caliber meets and camps out of state. After the school year, he’ll journey north to Portland, Ore., for a meet on June 8. He also has been invited to a track and field camp hosted by the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., from June 29-July 3.

To be able to attend the camp at the Naval Academy, which also is recruiting Zinnerman for its collegiate track and field team, he’ll need financial assistance. His mother says she can afford the Portland trip, as the family will simply drive north. But with the Naval Academy trip coming so soon after, the family is asking for donations from the community.

Anyone wishing to assist Zinnerman on his trip can send donations to The Community Voice at P.O. Box 2038, Rohnert Park, CA 94927 or you can bring them in to The Community Voice office at 100 Professional Center Dr. Suite 110, in Rohnert Park. Be sure to make all checks are payable to Justin Zinnerman.

The 5-foot-11 Zinnerman practices high-jump for an hour after school with the rest of the track team and will go back to his house and practice for another hour. 

Zinnerman one day hopes to reach the Olympic games, which is the terrain conquered by his idol, Jamaican sprinter and world-record holder in the 100- and 200- meter runs, Usain Bolt.

To fight complacency, Zinnerman lays out a set of goals and says he doesn’t stop until he achieves them. 

He also competes in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Zinnerman enjoys playing soccer and football, but she eschewed soccer this year to concentrate his efforts on track and field and football.

When asked why high jumping is his favorite competition, he said, “I really like how independent it is.”

Zinnerman began his track and field career at Lawrence Jones Middle School in Rohnert Park and hasn’t looked back since. Looking ahead, he said he’s hoping to continue his career at UC Davis and then possibly a spot on the Olympic team.

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