Salute To Seniors: Brett Zatlin (Great Valley)

Today, we salute Brett Zatlin of Great Valley!

Zatlin closed out a strong career with the Patriots. The Bucknell recruit was a state medalist this past indoor season in the 800 meters, when he dropped a big PR of 1:54.65 to finish fourth. He was also a state meet qualifier in cross country in the fall.

Throughout the end of June and through July we we be honoring our graduating seniors. To submit your own questionnaire to be posted on the front page of PennTrackXC, check out this page and email your responses to Dan Beck (


What was your most memorable race/competition?

My favorite memory from high school running will always be my 800 from indoor states this past year. I had run 1:57 so many times, and I knew a breakthrough was imminent. Even though I wasn't in the hot heat, my coach continuously assured me that I could snag a medal. To run 1:54 and get 4th felt even better than I had hoped it would. I owe a lot of that success in that race to Aidan Sauer from Pennsbury for helping us both get into the medals.

Where did you face your biggest competition?

Definitely at New Balance Indoor Nationals the week after that states race. I had been hoping to make the emerging elite field, and then I ended up in the championship section with the best guys in the country. I ended up getting absolutely destroyed, and it was super humbling knowing just how talented guys are out there.

Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?

On a personal level, nothing can probably top my states race. However, my proudest accomplishment in high school will be the progress my teammates and I made. My sophomore year, we barely cracked the top 30 at districts for XC. The younger guys at Great Valley have definitely come in and changed the culture of the team, and we jumped to 11th at districts this past fall. They return a ton of guys too. I'm just happy to say I was apart of helping the team get back towards the top.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?

I'd definitely try and change the little things. I didn't eat or sleep very well when it came to training, and in hindsight, those little things could've been what pushed me over the edge. I also wish I put a little more energy into XC. I always gave it my all, but my heart was always on the track, so I wish I could've really put myself all in to XC for at least one season.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

It would easily be my injury this spring. After an injury free high school career, my luck finally ran out. I developed a stress fracture in my foot in mid-April, and it forced me to shut down for the rest of the season, ending my high school career. This was absolutely heartbreaking, because after indoor, I thought I might have had enough momentum to contend for a state title.

What will you miss the most?

It's cliché, but definitely my teammates. I attribute a lot of our up and coming success to the culture we've built over the past two years or so. Truthfully, we're all completely different people who probably wouldn't be friends if it weren't for running, so it's really special that we all come together as buddies to grind out hundreds of miles and some brutal workouts.

Do you have any advice for younger athletes? 

Listen to your coaches, take pride in what you do, don't panic, and enjoy the experience. Something I found is that its okay to have a day, or even a week where you find it hard to stay focused or motivated. Rather than panic, just know that its temporary, and you'll find your mojo in no time. Also, don't let plateaus freak you out! Sometimes there truly is no explanation for a lack of progress, even when you seem to be doing everything right. A time will come when everything clicks, and you'll get the result you're looking for.

How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?

Each coach I've had has had a very distinct impact on my career. Coach Weiner in middle school was the one who made me quit being an immature little tween and realize my potential in running. Coach Gring coached me through middle school track and all of high school XC, and forced me to believe that there was a purpose behind everything we did. There was Coach Le, who kept me in one piece throughout my career, and most importantly, Coach Jones. She was my track coach for all of high school, and we developed a coaching relationship where I put all of my faith in her to get me in the best shape I could be in, and she put all of her faith in me to get the best results I possibly could. I owe a large, large, large part of my success to everything she did for me.

What are your post-high school plans?

I'll be attending Bucknell University in the fall, where I get to start all over again, with 4 more years of XC and track. The dream goal is to run 1:49 and maybe even faster.

Any shoutouts?

Lots, so bare with me.

To my "rivals" who I've been racing since 7th grade, Evan Kaiser and Spencer Smucker, it was a fun fun time growing up with them, and I'm glad we became buddies from just racing.

To my teammates, Seth, Riley, Rahman, Hayden, all the other guys (you know who you are), and especially Roman, thank you boys. You guys were my second family. Roman and I know you guys are going to shock some people next year.

To Brendan and Thomas, go Bison...

To my parents, who missed probably only one or two of my near hundred races in my career. Shoutout to my Dad for being the loudest one at every meet, and my Mom, for rolling out my legs the night before every race and putting up with nothing but running talk at the dinner table.

The last, and most important shoutout, goes to my older brother Garrett. If it weren't for him I probably wouldn't even be running. He's my biggest fan, my biggest critic, and my biggest inspiration. Half of my success I owe to him for everything he's done for me.