No hope, no quit for high school runner in her last race

Here’s another entrant in the “track kids are the cool kids” category.

In La Crosse, Wis., on Saturday, Abbey Zastrow finished last in the 400-meter dash and the 200-meter dash at the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 2 girls state track and field meet at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

She blew a hamstring with 50 meters to go in the 400 and had to walk to the finish line.

Keep in mind that she was apparently fully capable of setting a state record in the event, according to John Casper of the Winona Daily News and La Crosse Tribune. She held the state title until Saturday.

Once injured, she had no prospect of doing so in the 200.

But she ran anyway.

“It was my last high school race,” Zastrow told Casper, who called it the most inspiring 10th-place finish in Wisconsin high school history. “I qualified. It’s something to be proud of. I wanted to run it out.”

When Zastrow was laying face down on a table beneath the stadium with a trainer massaging her hamstring, the first thing she said to Helgeson was “How did Engel do?”

That would be Abbey Engel of Cochrane-Fountain City, one of Zastrow’s closest friends and a regular training partner. She ran in the race before Zastrow injured her hamstring.

“That’s the type of kid she is,” Helgeson said. “She’s incredible.”

Zastrow said she’s lucky she will be able to run again. She’s headed to the University of Mary, a NCAA Division II school, on an athletic scholarship. She should slide right into her favorite event when the indoor season begins in December.

“It’s going to push me in college,” Zastrow said. “This is something you don’t want to end on. This will push me to strive and hit my goals so I don’t feel this devastation again.”

(h/t: Howard Sinker)