By Nick Giannandrea
Zach Glick wasn't going to let the cancelation of the spring sports season due to the global pandemic keep him from getting recruited.
So the College of the Sequoias' track and field standout took matters into his own hands.
"I knew where I wanted to go," said Glick, a jumps specialist. "During quarantine I figured I wanted to make it happen myself."
So Glick typed up an email to his school of choice: Long Beach State. Glick detailed his top marks and achievements, shared his dream of attending Long Beach State as his father once did, and added video highlights of his jumping prowess.
It was received by head track and field coach Andy Sythe, who had more time than usual to go through the emails he receives from potential recruits with no track meets to attend and in-person recruiting prohibited because of restrictions over Covid-19.
Sythe took an instant interest in what he read about Glick, a two-time California Interscholastic Federation State Championships participant during his high school days at Golden West.
"I sent him my stats and that got the ball rolling," Glick said. "I'm thankful he was checking his email more than he normally would without all the down time."
It opened a dialog that paved the way for Glick to receive a scholarship offer from Sythe essentially sight unseen. Glick committed in early December and plans to enroll at Long Beach State -- where he will have three seasons of athletic eligibility -- in the fall of 2021. He will pursue a degree in American Studies, and eventually hopes to become a personal trainer.
"I think they have a really great track program," Glick said. "I've met most of the coaches. They seem just as ready as I am. And even if track doesn't take me to the pro level, going to Long Beach gives me a lot of options to branch out in my career."
Glick will follow in the footsteps of his father, Joel Glick, a former COS football and track and field standout who went on to play football at Long Beach State.
"My dad talking about (playing at Long Beach State) always put it in my mind growing up," Glick said. "I had a goal to make it to Long Beach State."
Like his father, Zach Glick enjoyed a decorated high school athletic career en route to becoming a college recruit.
Glick was the Central Section Masters champion in the triple jump in 2017 as a junior at Golden West, and the Masters champ in the long jump in 2018 as a senior, qualifying for the state meet both years.
He received a scholarship offer from Fresno Pacific coming out of high school, but his freshman season as a Sunbird never got started after he pulled his hamstring in the fall, then while ramping up for the start of the season in the spring, injured his hamstring again even worse.
Glick ended up redshirting at Fresno Pacific in 2018-19.
Following the season, Glick decided to transfer back to his hometown and attend COS, which has produced several high profile track standouts over the past couple of years, including Darius Smith (UCLA), Jamal Britt (Iowa), Quincy Hall (South Carolina) and Semaj Taylor (Utah State).
What would have been Glick's freshman season at COS got off to a strong start, as he posted a state-leading long jump of 23-3.23 feet, was part of a state third-best performance in the 4x400 relay (3:27.03) and had the state's 21st-best time in the 400 (51.78) through the Giants' first two meets.
The 6-foot-5, 185-pound Glick was still working up to competing in the triple jump -- his best event -- when all California Community College athletics were canceled because of coronavirus precautions.
"He's freakishly athletic," COS coach Kenny Jackson said. "He can jump off either leg. He's just different. Most athletes have a dominant leg. He's so good in the triple jump because he can jump with his left leg and his right."
Jackson said he expects Glick -- who has become a team captain because of his leadership and work ethic -- to qualify for the state championships in the long and triple jumps, as well as a member of COS' 4x400 relay team when the Giants' season starts in April, assuming COVID-19 restrictions ease by then.
"He's very realistic. He's not like 'Hey coach, I want to go to the Olympics,'" Jackson said. "He said he wants to be the best in JC, and he's going to go out and try to prove that. And that's just on the track. Zach knows how to take care of business in the classroom, too. He's taken advantage of all the resources available at COS to make the best of himself."
After essentially not competing for two years, Glick is anxious to get the season started. He works out religiously in the gym his parents have in their garage, regularly goes on runs over Rocky Hill outside of Exeter and jumps on his own. Glick said he's also fortunate to have long-time track guru and COS assistant coach Greg Flenory as a neighbor.
Flenory, who built a track power at Clovis High before helping launch El Diamante as its Athletics Director when Visalia's fourth high school opened in 2002, has long provided tips to Glick, and has kept tabs on his training since the 2020 season was canceled.
"He's helped me out a lot," Glick said. "He's so smart. Why not trust someone who's been there."
George Stewart, a club coach who helped guide Glick's training from the third grade through high school, also has been a major contributor to his success.
COS' Jackson said that Glick landing an offer from an NCAA Division I program such as Long Beach State isn't a surprise, nor has it come by accident.
"His success, some of it is God given. He's a big, strong young man," Jackson said. "At the same time, he has a work ethic and heart of someone not as physically gifted as he is. He doesn't get outworked."