YOUNG STAR SCHMITT AND BRADLEY TAKE CAPT. ZINN MEMORIAL 5K RUN TITLES; CAMPOS, RODRIGUEZ PACE 5K RACEWALKERS.
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
COLTS NECK, NJ – The lanky lad, seemingly destined to run his way into his sport’s biggest time, has done it.
This tall young man’s name is Gavin Schmitt and his decisive triumph in the 58th annual Captain Ronald Zinn Memorial 5K at Dorbrook Park on April 2 was a clear indication that much better achievements are just ahead.
He’s just 14, a student at St. Leo the Great School in Lincroft, and set to join the always-power-packed distance running lineup at Christian Brothers Academy in September.
On this chilly, blustery Sunday morning, the Holmdel resident toured the Dorbrook course in 16:12.76 in becoming the youngest winner in the Capt. Zinn event’s long and distinguished history.
Taking an early lead, Schmitt won decisively over Locust resident Matt Coleman (17:30) and Red Bank’s Benjamin Hutterer (17:41). Schmitt has already placed high in national age-group events. The best yet now awaits him.
Emma Bradley, 17, of Florham Park (18:47) led the women’s division of the Capt. Zinn event hosted by Shore Athletic Club in another of the club’s year-round schedule of events in all branches of track and field, for athletes of all ages.
Co-featured with the Capt. Zinn Run was the traditional 5K Racewalk, where Luis Alberto Campos of West New York (28:52.11) edged out Israel (Jerry) Soto of the Bronx, NY (28:54.25) for over-all honors, and Cristiana Rodriguez of Elmwood Park (32:28) took women’s top walk honors.
This was the 58th annual edition of the race, honoring the memory of
Capt. Zinn, the heroic West Pointer and two-time USA Olympian who gave
his life for his country , July 7, 1965, in Vietnam, and again saluted the service of all Vietnam veterans.
Capt. Zinn, who’d competed in Long Branch, Asbury Park and Seaside Heights as a West Pointer in 1961-62-63-64, went on star for the USA Olympic team in the 20-kilometer racewalk at the Rome Olympics of 1960 and the Tokyo Olympics of 1964. His sixth-place finish at Tokyo remains the second-best-ever in Olympic annals by an American racewalker at 20K. He’d also been an excellent runner on the West Point cross country team, twice advancing to the NCAA Championships.
The races are sponsored by NJ Natural Gas. Co. in cooperation with St. James School,of Red Bank and Jughandle Brewing Co. and in support of the Lt. Dennis Zilinski II Memorial Fund.
Most senior stars were Olie Nelson, 87 of Farmingdale, and Frank Bergson, 84, of White House Station. Nelson ran a 33:41, Bergson walked 54:30.
Full results can be found at www.compuscore.com. The full schedule of upcoming Shore AC events can be found at www.shoreac.org.