Superior’s Colvin motivated by momMother’s Day has taken on new meaning at the Colvin household since Penny Colvin was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2008.
By: By Rick Weegman, Duluth News Tribune , Superior Telegram
Mother’s Day has taken on new meaning at the Colvin household since Penny Colvin was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2008.
Maybe that’s why Zach Colvin, Penny’s youngest of four sons, is running with such purpose this spring for the Superior track and field squad.
Colvin is nearing his personal best in the 400 meters and has one of the top three times in Superior’s section in the 100. In addition, he’s added high jump duties for the first time and is a threat to qualify for the Wisconsin state meet in the long jump.
“He can score in any event you put him in — 100, 200, 400, high jump, long jump, 4x100 — he can do anything, that’s the nice thing about him,” Superior track coach Kris Leopold said.
Penny says Zach always has been fast, likely due to constantly running away from older brothers Andrew, Seth and Chris.
“He’s always been quite the character,” she said. “Occasionally he’d be the antagonist of the bunch. He’d start trouble with his brothers and then run like heck.”
Penny hopes to be able to watch Zach run the final few meets of his prep career, but health problems have limited her viewing. The 40-year-old’s heart condition was diagnosed in July 2008 and the following month she had a pacemaker implanted at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth.
“There’s been a lot of ups and downs with that, and because of that there’s been (football and basketball) games and meets that I have missed,” said Penny, whose heart function is only 20 percent of normal. She’s hopeful of eventually being included on a heart transplant list at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Zach says his mother’s plight has been an inspiration to his running.
“It adds stress just knowing that your mom has a heart condition, but it helps me that she’s still here supporting me in whatever I do,” he said. “I get a lot of my motivation from her.”
The 5-foot-9 senior with a 34-inch vertical leap signed a scholarship tender last fall to play football at North Dakota State. He’ll play defensive back for the Bison.
Attending college would have been difficult without the scholarship money, the 18-year-old said, and that’s why Penny says it’s crucial that her son follows through on his commitment.
“My goal with all my kids is to have them settled and situated so that if anything were to happen to me, I would know they were where they were supposed to be in life,” she said. “I worry about (Zach) more. I want to make sure that he knows that no matter what happens with me, I want him to go to school.”
Colvin, who barely missed out on the 2009 state meet in the 400 and the long jump, is uncertain whether he’ll try running in college, but says the cross-training helps him on the football field. He’s cross-training, of sorts, for his primary events, the 400 and the long jump, by participating in the 4x800 relay and high jump — events he’s never contested before.
“He complained about running the 800, but after he saw his 400-meter time drop he asked, ‘Can I run a 4x800 at every meet?’ I said, ‘Absolutely,’” Leopold said. “He’s understanding the big picture.”
Colvin quickly changed his tune about not wanting a spot on the 3,200 relay.
“I can get that conditioning and that extra kick at the end of my 400s (by running an 800 split),” he said. “I’m not really a long-distance guy — I can do it — I just don’t really like to. But after I ran it a couple times, my first time running 400 this year I ran (52.1, just off his personal best of 51.93) so I thought, ‘Maybe this is working and I should do it more.’”
And, hopefully, his mother will be there to watch him.
Zach Colvin file
Prep status: Superior senior
Sports: Football, basketball, track and field
School activities: Pledge Makers
Family: Mother, Penny; brothers Andrew, 22; Seth, 21; Chris, 19
Pet: December, a cat
Plans: Attend North Dakota State on a football scholarship
Face-to-face with Zach Colvin
If I could meet one person — dead or alive — who would it be? Walter Payton or Barry Sanders
If school were closed today, I would: Hang out with friends
Fear or phobia: Spiders
One thing people don’t know about me: I can be very shy
Favorite actor: Mike Epps
My ideal vacation: Cruise to Jamaica or the Bahamas
Pet peeve: When people touch my head
Last Web site I visited: Facebook.com
If I had a million dollars, I’d buy: A car, a house, clothes and give to charity
The toughest athlete I’ve competed against: Matt Kerswell of D.C. Everest
Hobbies: Basketball, football and playing pranks
Favorite musical group: New Boyz
Favorite home-cooked meal: Three-meat Stromboli