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Published April 01 2012

Running inspired: Fergus' Zenner hopes to add to already stellar career

Fergus Falls, Minn.

What Haylie Zenner has already accomplished would satisfy most.

She’s a three-time Minnesota state track champion in the 800 meters.

She’s committed to the University of Minnesota, where she will run track and possibly cross country next season.

“Since the girls track and field program started, yes, she’s the most accomplished person we’ve had,” said Fergus Falls track coach Niki Welde. “If you look at school records, state champions and section records, yes, she has the most.”

Zenner, a senior, admits she’s blessed to accomplish so much.

But she knows there is still more to attain. She’s not being greedy.

Zenner said she just wants to take advantage of her senior year and what it has to offer.

“I am going to start a new chapter after high school,” Zenner said. “So I want to end this chapter on a good note.”

If Zenner’s time at Fergus Falls has been like a book, it might be titled, “Great Expectations.”

Her eighth-grade year was all about living up to what her sister, Kylie, did.

She broke those expectations by winning state the first time.

Zenner also won state as a freshman and missed winning state as a sophomore by four-hundredths of a second.

She made up for it last season but there has been more even beyond track and field.

Zenner is a three-sport athlete, having been a member of the cross country and girls basketball teams.

She actually took an elbow to the mouth during a basketball game, which caused her to lose one of her front teeth.

“I don’t worry about it,” Zenner said about her missing tooth. “I can’t get it replaced until my surgery in a few months, so why worry about it?”

She works with youth at the local YMCA and she also mentors fifth-graders.

“Because basketball went to state, it overlapped with the start of track season,” Welde said. “But there was Haylie in the hallways, telling kids they need to come out for track. She has so much going on and I don’t know how she does it.”

Zenner, a Catholic, gives credit to her faith in God in regards to how she handles everything.

She was religious but really became concentrated on her faith after attending a camp her junior year.

The camp, Zenner said, made her closer with God and gave her the strength to handle anything.

“I just like to know that I can run for (God),” Zenner said. “I just thank him every day for the talents I’ve been given.”

Zenner writes certain Bible verses on her arms and legs prior to a meet.

She had about four of them on her when she won a state title last season.

Zenner said she does it to show thanks and not to tout her beliefs.

“I don’t like show it off, you are not supposed to,” she said. “I like to tell people about it only if they ask.”

Teammate Callie Ann Hoffbeck said though Zenner is devout, there is also a comical side to her.

Hoffbeck and Welde both admitted Zenner likes to joke with people.

She’ll do things like call up a random pizza place in a voice disguised as either a gangster or someone’s grandmother.

“There are so many stories about her,” Hoffbeck said. “But the prank calls are the best.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark’s Force blog can be found

at slightlychilled.areavoices.com