The Flathead Braves athletics program has a long-standing tradition of excellence when it comes to Cross Country and distance track. One current senior is carrying that torch in a big way for the program.
"Well Zach's been with me now for four years,” said Flathead distance coach Paul Jorgenson of his senior star Zach Perrin. “I knew right away, even when he was in 8th grade that he was a special runner."
Perrin is definitely not a stranger to running success. He’s already won state championships in high school track and cross country. He’s also won Gatorade Runner of the Year for the state of Montana. This spring he's back at it again; Last week in Kalispell, Perrin ran a 3200 meter race in nine minutes and six seconds, the fastest time ever recorded in the state of Montana.
"I haven't seen anybody run that fast before in the state of Montana obviously,” said Jorgenson. “That 9:06 that he ran at Glacier just the other day in kind of windy and cool conditions was pretty phenomenal."
"Yeah you know I wasn't really that sure of what would happen,” said Jorgenson about his feeling prior to the record-setting race. “I came into the race just looking for a low-key run, not really sure what exactly would happen. After I started to run the first few laps I started to feel really good."
The Braves track program is used to long-standing success in the distance events. The previous 3200 record holder was a former flathead runner in David Vidal.
"He's looked up to David Vidal and Seth Watkins and all the ones that preceded him and he knows what they've done,” said Jorgenson. “So I’m pretty sure that he's set himself a goal to put himself up there where they are."
"Just to be able to uphold the tradition and be part of the Flathead pride is just super cool and I'm fortunate to part of it and have a great coach," said Perrin.
Perrin will be the first one to tell you that he hasn't done it all by himself. With other talented runners in the area like Troy Fraley from Glacier High and Adam Peterman from Hellgate High, they've all pushed each other to be better athletes over the past few years.
"Adam and Troy are just both great competitors, and it's so much easier to run with good competition," said Perrin.