SOUTH BEND - In the world of track & field and cross country, South Bend St. Joseph's senior Joey Zielinski is a superstar.
"He's one of the better athletes to come through," boasts St. Joe coach Mike McCarthy.
"What Skylar Diggins did for women's basketball, he's doing for track & cross country."
In other words: He's pretty darn good.
"He's a national caliber athlete," McCarthy explains.
"He's run the mile in 4:13, which is our school record and the second fastest time any South Bend high school male has ever run. He's run 15:31 in the five thousand meters, which is the fastest any South Bend high school athlete has done. So those numbers speak for themselves."
And those numbers, don't happen by accident. Running isn't a hobby for Zielinski...it's a lifestyle.
"If I miss a run I feel bad about it. I want to go out and re-dedicate myself," says Zielinski, who runs nearly every day year round.
"Once you're in a cycle of good training, you just feel awesome."
So does dominating the competition. Zielinski finished 4th in the state meet this fall in cross country, the best finish ever by a boys runner from South Bend. And he represents the city's best hope at a distance medal this weekend too.
"I have high ambitions for state. Hopefully medal in one, or more events," Zielinski tells us.
Zielinski will race in the 1600 meters, the 800 meters this weekend. The state meet is Saturday in Bloomington.