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KOAA Athlete of the Week: Coronado's Zinabu Engstrom

Posted at 11:03 PM, Oct 26, 2021

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As the saying goes, home is where your feet are standing. And for Coronado's Zinabu Engstrom, his home is on the cross country course.

"It just makes me feel good," said Engstrom, who admitted he only joined the cross country team his freshman year after his mom forced him to. "I do not know how to explain it, but I finish a run and I just feel good."

This weekend, Engstrom will compete in the 4A state cross country course at the Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs. Last year he finished just outside the top 10, with the goal this year of finishing in the top three.

"I love being able to push myself all the way and seeing the results from it," explained Engstrom

"And he does love the work and pushing that ideal out there and people are really kind of eating it up because they see it pay off," added Coronado cross country coach Grant Stoughton.

Z, as his friends call him, is the definition of a grinder. But there was a time earlier this year, where the senior may not have seen his hard work pay off.

"i could not have imagined him moving," said Stoughton. "When I first got the news I was like uh what are we going to do?"

A native of Ethiopia, Zinabu's father moved his family to Colorado Springs 15 years ago. But before the school year began this year, Mr.Engstrom took a job in Minnesota, leaving Zunabo with a decision of staying in Colorado or moving to the midwest.

"I really wanted to finish my season here," explained Zinabu.

So when Z hears the gun go to start Saturday's state meet, he knows he will be finishing what he has started.

"I think the mentality is to keep things fun," concluded Engstrom. "I think senior year you can make things stressful saying 'Oh this is my last year, I have to make everything happen. I just wanted to stay relaxaed and happy this year."

"If he can get into the top 10 this year that would be spectacular, but really I just want him to leave the race thinking - 'that was a good career, I did everything I could," added Stoughton.