Over the last four years, the state of Texas has seen the UIL 1A cross country and distance scene earn the respect of the entire state. It hasn't been just one runner, but a group of transitional 1A distance guys who have helped transform the way the state looks at small school distance runners. With guys like Jake Merrell, Dustin Dominey, Alejandro Chavez, Albert Serrano, and Luke Brignon, the respect and recognition is definitely there.
This group of runners have set six total records over the last four years. Not only have they captured the attention of the state, but they have also made waves nationally.
Last weekend, at the UIL 1A state meet, Zirkel won the the 3200m title in a new UIL state record when he ran 9:37.69. Zirkel ran away from the group of state meet qualifiers and drove home like it was the moment he had been waiting for.
Zirkel adds the 3200m record to his UIL state cross country to his 1A state cross country record. In the fall, he ran 15:34 over the 5K course. That race went similar to last week's race. Zirkel would pull away from the field winning by almost 20 seconds.
With that, the Sam Houston State Univ. signee pretty much cemented himself in UIL 1A history with the two distance records. However, they weren't his first records and titles.
As a sophomore, Zirkel first won the 2015 UIL 1A state cross country state meet, and guess what, it was in another record time -- kind of.
His 2015 winning time was 18:13.45 and that happens to be the slowest winning time of a boys 5K race in history.
The time was with just cause. If anyone remembers the 2016 season, they'll know that was when every cross country course in the last three weeks of the season turned into slip and slide mud courses....including the state meet course. There were literally rivers of water flowing across the course and mud slides everywhere, which helped lead to the 18:45 5K.
So, that means Zirkel has the record for the slowest state meet winning time in UIL cross country history as well as the fastest 1A state cross country champion to go along with his new UIL 1A 3200m record.
Watch out the next time you see Zirkel and his shades on the track!