By Jeremy McDonald
SHERIDAN, Ore.– Sheridan-grad Ronni VanZant felt like her College career was just taking off.
Coming off of winning the 3A State Titles in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and Long Jump her Senior season with the Spartans, VanZant felt like she was coming into her own following High School.
“Sheridan was a time of growth for me. I was still learning about my body and how to work it while enjoying it. I was learning how to push myself in ways I had never before. Finishing there with the marks I did will forgive have a place in my heart,” VanZant said.
“As for Concordia, I felt my career really begin here. I met women that pushed me harder than I could have ever expected. I was pushed to limits, I broke some practices and felt I wasn’t strong enough. My coach and teammates reminded me every day that this is what I am meant to do, we encouraged each other through hard practices and even harder mental battles. As sad as I am for leaving, I am excited to begin again in Alabama under a new coach and new teammates and run my heart out.”
As a freshman last Spring, VanZant finished second in the 400-meter dash (59.76 seconds) at the Cougar Open in Oregon City and second-place in the Long Jump (18-feet-3.75-inches) at the Ken Shannon Invitational as her highest finishes. Not to mention being apart of the 4×100 relay teams that won the Cougar Open, John Knight Twilight and the Willamette Invitational.
Those mental battles had taught VanZant, who competed in the pentathlon while at Concordia, that what they wanted the most came with hard work.
“Those moments at Concordia taught me that the things we want are often the hardest things we face. We all wanted to be the best and we pushed through those 300 repeats and hill sprints so we could get there. Those killer reps pushed us to excel,” said VanZant.
In February it was announced the Concordia-campus in Portland was going to close their campus following the school year. A month later, news came that the Spring season was canceled due to Coronavirus.
Soon enough however, VanZant found her new home: Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. NCAA Division-II where she’ll compete in the heptathlon for the Badgers.
Losing her sophomore season was hard yes. But for her, the downtime is nice in preparing for the next stanza, the next page, of her athletic career that lies ahead.
“This down time is nice. A lot of long runs is helping my shins immensely,” VanZant starts. “I’m getting fired up thinking about lacing up in purple left season. Losing this season was hard, a lot of training down the drain in a Sense. I’m just ready to get back on a track and show up like planned.”