Zach Shinnick: It Takes A Village

I’m here to tell you that former USC and Damien High School sprint superstar Zach Shinnick is the real deal. That’s not news to our family and likely not news to anyone who has ever met him. But it needs to be said louder and more often.

For those outside the track and field world, Zach Shinnick is a legend in California track circles. He posted the fourth-fastest 400M in CA high school history (45.20) at the 2017 USATF JR Nationals. That same year, he represented the United States and broke the Junior World record for the 400m in the Pan American championship meet. Then, as a Freshman at USC, he led off USC’s 4x400m relay team as they set a world record at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships (video). On the track, there has never been a question. He is the real deal.

Zach Shinnick: It Takes A Village

But it’s much more than that. Zach is the real deal as a good human, too. The Turner family got our first glimpse of this young man’s character at the annual USC vs UCLA track meet. My wife, Rocky Turner, currently the Head Track and field Coach at Bishop Alemany, has been friends with Zach Shinnick’s mom, Christy Parker Shinnick since they were in high school at Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks.

When we first met Zach, Rocky was coaching the sprint squad at Saugus High School, where our son, Zachariah, specialized in the 400M. She arranged for our two sons to meet during the event. The conversation that day and subsequent discussions he had with our son over text were the first indications that Zach Shinnick was not just a great runner but a stellar human. He gave his advice and encouragement freely and went out of his way to ensure Zachariah had the confidence he needed when he needed it most.

Zach Shinnick: It Takes A Village

Now, my wife is coaching another budding sprint superstar, freshman Demare Dezeurn. Last week, she contacted Zach to see if he might be willing to attend a practice to work on starts with Demare. It took no arm twisting. Ironically, Demare broke Zach’s CA Winter Championship 60M record earlier in the year. So Zach had already met Demare and was well aware of his talent. He showed up ready to work and focused on ensuring Demare had the confidence to go boldly into this weekend’s CIF State Championships.

Zach Shinnick: It Takes A Village
Zach Shinnick: It Takes A Village
Zach Shinnick: It Takes A Village

“I wish I had someone like me to help when I was on my way to State Championships,” Shinnick said at dinner after the workout. Help he did. Demare left the workout feeling confident in his start and looking forward to the challenge ahead. And it’s a big challenge.

Demare has the fastest qualifying time (10.36) heading into the 2024 CIF State Championships. But many will challenge, and no freshman has ever won the 100M at the State. One thing is certain, however. Win or lose, Zach Shinnick will be dropping into his DMs to offer support. I’m confident of that.

Zach Shinnick: It Takes A Village

Thank you, Zach. You are the real deal.

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EXIF Data Below Applies Only To The Featured Photo In This Post
  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Camera: ILCE-1
  • Taken: 22 May, 2024
  • Exposure bias: -1EV
  • Focal length: 137.5mm
  • ISO: 160
  • Shutter speed: 1/2000s

    1. Relationships

    2. Agree 💯
      Love the family and the young man he’s become. Special place in the Gex family hearts that Zach. He da man !!!!!!

    3. This my nephew Zach Shinnick. He is INDEED the Real Deal. I feel like I just have to tip my hat to his fabulous parents who are the most supportive parents imaginable. (He has great sisters, too.) He’s truly a wonderful young man.

    4. Lynn, I’ve met the entire family now, and I agree. 🙂

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