Zutz leading Minnesota in final season

The redshirt senior earned a career-best time last weekend in Louisville, Ky.

Thomas Jaakola

Redshirt senior Adam Zutz is heating up when his team needs him the most.
 
The team captain is fresh off of a career-best 8-kilometer time of 23:53.1 at the Pre-National Meet in Kentucky last weekend, a highlight in an overall disappointing performance for the team.
 
“I’ve been pretty satisfied with my races so far; it’s nice to be able to run some fast times,” Zutz said. “I’m pretty happy with the shape I’m in, and I’m confident heading into the remainder of the season.”
 
Zutz started the year with consecutive second-place performances for the team, finishing behind teammates Aaron Bartnik in the Bob Timmons Dual Classic and Obsa Ali at the 30th annual Roy Griak Invitational.
 
He picked up the pace, though, at the Pre-National Meet and finished more than 20 seconds faster than the next Minnesota runner, redshirt sophomore Charlie Lawrence.
 
“Louisville was a good performance [for Zutz], probably some of his best cross country running since he’s been at Minnesota,” head coach Steve Plasencia said.
 
A number of strength workouts have helped Zutz throughout the season, allowing him to train faster and drop significant amounts of time in races this season.
 
Zutz has been a consistent runner for Minnesota even before this year. He has competed in 18 races in his career and has scored for the team in 14 straight competitions, including every race he’s competed in over the course of the last three seasons.
 
He’s also managed two top-10 finishes in his career, which included a runner-up finish at the Bob Timmons Dual Classic to start his senior year.
 
“I think one of the hallmarks of Adam’s running has been his consistency,” Plasencia said. “He’s a very steady individual, steady in the way he feels for people and even studying in the classroom at a high level. When he puts his mind to do something, he’s a dedicated individual. He’s one of those guys you can count on.”
 
Zutz has been a role model on the team for younger runners like Ali.
 
“He’s like an example of what our team should be at any time, off the track or on,” Ali said. 
 
“Whenever I have any questions with school, running, practice, [or] if I’m struggling with anything, I just go to Adam. He’s been through it.”
 
Zutz will lead the Gophers as the team prepares for its biggest meets of the season, starting with the Big Ten championships in early November. 
 
“I think our team would like to show some redemption and have a pretty high finish at the Big Ten and Regional meet,” Zutz said. “We kind of tanked it this past weekend as a team at Pre-Nationals, and we’re kind of looking forward to these next two bigger races.”