Jan. 20, 2010
Senior Zack Midles, a graduate of Capital High School in Olympia is entering into his final indoor and outdoor track seasons as a Washington Husky. Midles earned his first All-America honor last spring in the hammer throw, continuing a Midles family legacy as both his father and older brother were All-America hammer throwers as well. Midles, one of the most outgoing leaders on the UW roster, will be looking to continue his steady improvement in the weeks and months ahead. GoHuskies caught up with Midles to talk about his experiences as a Husky, his family ties in the sport and his expectations for his final indoor and outdoor seasons.
GoHuskies.com: So you're coming off one of the best outdoor seasons in your career at UW, can you tell me a bit about how your outdoor season went last year?
Zack Midles: Yeah, outdoor season went great last year. My number one goal was to become All-American and that's what I became, so I definitely want to try and do that again this year. But last year I got a few PR's at the (Washington State) dual meet; that was my first PR of the season. The Arizona meet I threw well, and it all just led up to Nationals and that's where I got the best of it all and became All-American.
GH: You come from a family of throwers. Your dad was an All-American at WSU and your brother was an All-American at USC. Can you tell me what brought you to UW?
ZM: (laughs) Probably the atmosphere. I really like Seattle and it's close to home. The other schools I was considering were further east in Iowa and down south in California. UW just felt like a general fit, academically and athletically it was the best fit. I came for a different coach at the time and so he kind of drew me here. Martin Bingisser was here and I really enjoyed training with him and I wanted to continue that. So it was probably the team atmosphere and Coach Metcalf is a good sales person (laughs), and it just kind of sold me and I'm really glad it did.
GH: Are there any in-family rivalries with your dad and your brother?
ZM: Well, my brother is a Trojan, and my dad is a Cougar. It was actually a little awkward when I went home this past winter break and told a Cougar joke at the table and my sister goes to WSU and both my parents went to WSU so I was a little outnumbered (laughs). Yeah, there's some rivalry especially when Apple Cup comes around, but it's all in good fun.
GH: When will your first indoor meet be this winter?
ZM: My first indoor meet will probably be the one before MPSF (Husky Classic). I'll throw the weight. Coach wants me throwing a little bit of weight this year, especially at MPSF to hopefully score some points. But I'm definitely focusing on outdoor season; it's my last season so I'm focusing on that.
GH: To the untrained eye, it might seem like the weight throw is somewhat comparable to the hammer throw outdoors, but I'm sure it's different. Can you explain some of the main differences and what you prefer?
ZM: Yeah. The weight's a lot heavier, your back definitely feels the difference. It doesn't go as far, but it's more of a powerful event so if you're strong in the weight you're going to be able to get it a lot further. Speed and strength has a lot to do with the hammer whereas the weight involves a lot more muscle. You have to be a lot more patient with the weight. A lot of times people try to pull it just because it's so heavy, whereas the Hammer you can be a lot more dynamic with it. But the biggest one is just warming up the back an extra 20 minutes before you throw the weight because it takes a big toll on the body.
GH: So you prefer...
ZM: I prefer the hammer by a long shot. The hammer is what I'm here for (laughs).
GH: Can you walk me through a typical week of training for you at this point in the season?
ZM: Absolutely. A typical practice, I get here Monday around 12, go to the training room and warm up the back. Come down and take some throws with either the hammer, the weight, or the discus. After that we do some sprints, then go to the weight room and push the weights for an hour or two, depends on the day. Then do ab work after that, special strength. So it takes anywhere from 2-4 hours a day.
GH: Being that it's your senior season coming into outdoors, what are some of your main goals looking at Pac-10's and Nationals more specifically?
ZM: The biggest goal this season is to win Pac-10's. You know, hopefully I will be blessed and be able to do that, but that is definitely the main goal. Last year it was to become an All-American, this year it's to win Pac-10's. Obviously you want to go into every meet with the mindset to win, but realistically I do think that I have a good chance of winning Pac-10's this year in the Hammer. I placed third last year and the year before and we have a couple seniors graduate, so that's probably the main goal right now. Then NCAA's it will be nice because I'll be in Eugene and I'll be really close to home and family will come down and support me and hopefully I will do really well there. My dad placed fourth at NCAA's , so if I could place higher than that that would be ideal. But obviously winning NCAA's is always the goal and just try and do what God can give you.
GH: So will your dad be wearing a UW shirt at your meets?
ZM: Oh yeah, my dad wears a UW shirt. It has to say UW Track and Field though. It can't just be a generic UW shirt. My mom doesn't care what she wears. It's great to have their support.
GH: What are you majoring in?
ZM: I actually just double majored in Political Science and Communications and graduated last spring and now I'm getting my masters in Digital Communications.
GH: Do you currently have any post-collegiate plans for your future?
ZM: Right now I'm keeping my options open. I interned with Nordstrom's last summer...retail is a lot of work, but it taught me a lot. I plan on applying for a lot more internships this summer, and see what I can do there. Athletically, I just want to finish this season and see how I do. A lot of how I do will dictate my future. If I can throw 68 meters that will definitely be a ticket to continue throwing afterwards.
GH: What kind of things do you like to do in your free time?
ZM: My free time...I like to watch Everybody Loves Raymond! It's the best show. I like to talk with my family, my sisters, my brother, my parents, my grandparents...they mean the world to me. I always talk to them on the phone or visit them in Olympia. I hang out with my 7 roommates, they're all from church. They're all guys, we just have a good time, go bowling and stuff like that. I talk to my girlfriend, she's going to school in Colorado so I try to keep up with her and see how she's doing. I go to church and just hang out and try to stay out of trouble (laughs).
GH: Can you think of a funny story to tell us from the Throws group?
ZM: I can get you one...let me think for a second. I'd have to say the funniest is when we're in the weight room and someone forgets to put the equal amount of weight on the other side. Someone will be lifting and it will be completely lopsided and you keep wondering if it's just you or if it's the weight. And then we'll fight about who forgot to put on the weight and who was supposed to be monitoring or something like that. It is pretty funny because we'll always try to blame each other. We just have a good time, it's a great group of athletes and we have a great coach.