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Athlete of the Week - RJ Sylak, Zumbrota-Mazeppa Track and Field

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 10:53 PM CDT
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ZUMBROTA, Minn. (KTTC) – The word slow just isn’t in RJ Sylak’s vocabulary.

“I’m feeling especially after conference really fast, it was an awesome meet, good competition,” Sylak said.

The Junior sprinter is coming off a great HVL meet, winning the 100 meter and 200 meter events and he set the meet record in the 100 with a 10.87 time.

“I heard 10.87 and I was really happy to not only set that meet record, but to know I had the school record as well,” Sylak said.

“If you would’ve told me at the beginning of the year he was going to break 11 I don’t know that I would’ve believed you I don’t know if RJ would’ve believed you either,” Jared Andring, Zumbrota-Mazeppa Co-Head Coach said.

Breaking records is nothing new to him though, Sylak owns Z-M records in the 100 and 200, marks that stood since the 90′s.

Its all still unbelievable considering how far he’s come, as an 8th grader, he was only a distance runner who stumbled into sprinting thanks to a friend.

“He was like hey you should do the 1 and 200. You’re a tall guy you look like you’re built for it. I signed up to do it at that cannon falls meet and won that meet and kept it up,” Sylak said.

He’s been working ever since, but things really took off after last year.

“The best thing that ever happened to him it sound weird, but he just missed state last year in the 100 and that really lit a fire in his belly,” Andring said.

“The day after sections last year I was doing the speed, strength, agility here at SNAP fitness and I think its something I’ve been working towards really for the past nine months,” Sylak said.

Now all that work is paying off.

“In practice when we do our workouts he’s always giving 100 percent. He’s always pushing himself to find that little spot where he can get even faster,” Andring said.

Come the state meet he plans on being even faster.

“To be able to come into that meet and do something that no one else has done before will be something that personally at the end of the season would make me feel really rewarding,” Sylak said.

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