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The Drill: Luverne's Zewiske 'too fast' for softball, perfect for track

Gracie Zewiske, a senior on the Luverne High School track and field team, plans to attend Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and she’s considering getting into the pre-dentistry program. Her interest in dentistry pre-dates the weird thing that happened to her last summer when she had her wisdom teeth taken out.

LUVERNE -- Gracie Zewiske, a senior on the Luverne High School track and field team, plans to attend Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and she’s considering getting into the pre-dentistry program.

Her interest in dentistry pre-dates the weird thing that happened to her last summer when she had her wisdom teeth taken out.

“They hit a nerve in my lip,” she recalled. “And I still can’t feel it -- like this half of my lip. So it’s kind of weird not being able to feel my lip.”

It’s kind of weird, too, how Zewiske -- an outstanding sprinter -- became interested in track and field.

“If it weren’t for my softball coach my sixth-grade year, I probably would still be playing softball. ‘Cuz they always told me I could run the bases so fast. So I was like, ‘Oh, I might just try track out because they say I’m so fast at running bases,’” recalled Zewiske again. “And I thought softball was kinda boring, too. They always put me in the outfield, so I never really did anything.”

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And so, since the seventh grade it’s always been track for Zewiske in the spring. She also participates in volleyball at Luverne High.

On the Cardinals track team, which is annually one of the best girls programs in southwest Minnesota, Zewiske runs the 100 meters and the 200 meters, and she’s stretching out a bit to compete in the 4-by-400-meter relay.

Last year’s COVID-19 cancellation of the track season was a big disappointment, naturally, because Zewiske was excited to have all of her teammates returning in the 4-by-200 and 4-by-100 races. No season meant there would be no state tournament to compete in.

The speedy sprinter, who has also qualified for state in the open 200, has run in state tournament events every other year since she was an eighth-grader.

In 2021, the Cardinals are again a tough team to go up against in girls track. It’s been an ongoing push for excellence that has resulted in a lengthy string of LHS individuals hitting lofty goals at state tournaments, and much team success, too, at true team meets. This week’s featured Drill athlete always does her best to be the best she can be.

You can see the Gracie Zewiske video online at The Globe website at www.dglobe.com . Here’s a sampling of our interview:

QUESTION: To what do you credit Luverne’s continued success in girls high school track?

ANSWER: “Our coaches are good because they truly want us to improve in the sport, and they make workouts hard for us so we can improve. It’s not just an easy workout every day, they plan weeks to make sure we’re improving. … No one really likes the hard workouts, but they feel good when you have them completed, knowing that you can improve -- especially one day this year, I had to run with the long distance to train for the 4-by-4, which I’m not used to running.”

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QUESTION: What do you do, yourself, to help keep the track team aiming high?

ANSWER: “I try to be a leader at practice because I’m the senior for the sprinters. I know that the younger girls are looking up to me, so I try to work hard and not mess around at practice. When we got moved up a section two years ago, it was scary because we’d been qualifying for True Team State every year. … We hope to make it to True Team State (Class AA) again this year.”

051221 N DG Gracie Zewiske drill 05 12 21.jpg
Luverne High School track and field athlete Gracie Zewiske Drill 05 12 21. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

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