As a member of both the football and track team, sophomore corner back and hurdler Zach Sweep is emerging as a multisport star at MSUM.
Track and field is something Sweep became familiar with at a young age.
“Track has been part of my family,” Sweep said. “I grew up watching my sister at the University of Mary and throughout high school.”
The Bismarck native is a two time North Dakota state champion in the 110-meter hurdles, and was a part of Century High School’s 2016 state champion 4×100 relay team. He also experienced success as a member of Century’s football team that won the 2015 state championship.
Sweep’s sister, Allyson, helped him develop a skill he utilizes both on the football field and on the track: quickness.
“She’s kind of helped me grow speed. That’s a big part of both (sports), and I think that’s helped me play fast on the field and on the track,” Sweep said.
Working with his sister has paid off, as his 60-meter hurdle time of 8.31 seconds at the UND Indoor Open on Jan. 20 ranks fifth in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) this season.
Sweep would not be able to accomplish what he has without maintaining his health, which head track and field coach Ryan Milner commends him for.
“I think my favorite thing (this season) is he’s consistently healthy,” Milner said. “That’s probably been the thing he’s been able to overcome since his freshman year, just that ability to transition a little more seamlessly from football to track and stay healthy and contribute.”
Participating in both football and track, Sweep did not have much of an offseason. The Dragons’ final football game was on Nov. 11, and MSUM’s first track meet fell less than one month later on Dec. 8.
On top of the minimal transition period between sports, the track season can potentially go through May 25, when the NCAA Outdoor Championships are held.
To maintain his well-being and conditioning throughout the season, Sweep makes sure to take care of himself by exercising often.
“I make sure to stay on top of my workouts and not skip many,” Sweep said. “And I try taking care of little injuries that can happen, whether it’s a foot feeling sore for a day or two or something like that, by staying iced up and making sure to stretch every day.”
Along with staying in shape, Sweep sets an example for his team through his work ethic during the season.
“Anytime you can get someone who is a well-rounded athlete and person, it brings the whole team together,” Milner said. “You see when he’s competing he has a real dedication and passion for it, and also in the practice facility. He influences everybody around him, and they observe what he does.”
Sweep’s motivation as a competitor and leader stems from the people who have been there from the start.
“(My drive) comes from my family and being able to know I can do this for them, and knowing they support me,” Sweep said.
He is hoping his hard work and practice result in a conference title at the Feb. 23 NSIC Championships and a berth to the NCAA Championships on March 9.