Zach Richards of Coe-Brown: Boys’ Track Player of the Season

  • Not only a standout track and cross country runner, Zach Richards is credited for helping turn around the Coe-Brown boys’ program with his leadership. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

For the Monitor
Published: 6/16/2017 10:19:33 AM

When Zach Richards was a freshman, the Coe-Brown track program was better known for its girls’ team than the boys’ team, which typically hovered outside the top teams in Division II. Four years later, Richards, now a senior, led the Bears to within four points of a state title by scoring points in all three of his events.

Richards finished third in the 800 (1:58.28), fourth in the 1,600 (4:27.06) and anchored the second-place 4x400 relay at the D-II state championships May 27. The Bears scored 89 points, but fell just shy of champion Trinity’s 92 points in a meet that came down to the final event.

Richards clocked a personal-best time of 1:57.72 in a sixth-place finish in the 800 at the Meet of Champions a week later, fast enough to earn a spot at New Englands. Richards also ran on the second-place 4x800 relay and anchored the sixth-place 4x400. Richards finished 21st in the 800 at the New England meet, clocking a 1:58.63 and contributing to 18th-place finishes for both the 4x400 and 4x800 relays.

Coe-Brown established itself as one of the deepest, most balanced and most talented programs in the state and Coach Tim Cox credited Richards as a leader in the development of the team.

“Zach has been a quiet leader who has led by example the last two years,” Cox said. “He has been quite consistent with training and racing to his limits. The team leaned on him every meet. He was willing to run all day if need be to help the team.”

One of the highlights for Richards that also cemented Coe-Brown’s status as one of the best in the state was the Black Bear Invitational, when the Bears topped more than 30 teams, including several from D-I, to win the prestigious invitational on their home track. Richards won the 800 and finished second in the 1,600 in a personal-best time of 4:26.61 at that meet. He also ran the anchor leg of the winning 4x400 relay to seal the team’s victory in the meet’s final event.

“I’m happy with my season,” Richards said. “I got my (personal records) down and it was a great season for Coe-Brown.”

Richards, who was also key in leading the Bears to three straight D-II cross country titles, got to experience his career at Coe-Brown with his twin brother, Tanner, who finished fifth in D-II in the pole vault and also competed at New Englands.

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