The process of being a major National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I recruit, while flattering and rewarding, can be a stressful and pressure-filled experience for a young athlete.
Dallas distance runner Jack Zardecki, who signed his National Letter of Intent to run for the Air Force Academy Wednesday, did his best to enjoy the process.
“It’s definitely long,” said Zardecki, who made five official recruiting visits in the fall and recently settled on Air Force. “ … I got to meet a lot of new people, people I’m still friends with today, just from my visits.
“Sure, it can be stressful at times, but it was kind of just fun. You get to travel a little bit.”
One of those trips was to the Colorado Springs, Colo. area where Zardecki ultimately chose to return by continuing his studies in the military academy setting at Air Force. He will run for the cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams.
Zardecki made his recruiting visits to Army-West Point, the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University and Providence College.
“Between the hard work and dedication I was putting into my school work and my athletics, I sought out a school to search for with like characteristics to that, but also still have fun with what I’m doing,” said Zardecki,. “I just kind of explored my personality as a whole and what fits me.”
Zardecki, the lead runner on state Class 2A team cross country championships in both his sophomore and junior seasons, said he chose Air Force after he “wound up liking it just a little bit more” than Army.
The two-time Times Leader Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year won a District 2 individual title as a senior. He was also a three-time state medalist as well as part of four teams that finished in the top eight in the state.
Dallas never lost a Wyoming Valley Conference cross country meet or conference championship race with Zardecki in the lineup in his four runs. He led district team championships the last three years.