Capello running away with it

ACHS junior track star Zach Capello leads runners in a 2013 cross country meet.

Zach Capello is no stranger to crossing the finish line before the competition. Neither is he a stranger to finishing a race at a record pace. Capello’s latest victory brought him the LHSAA Indoor Track Division II title in the 3200-meters and a record time of 9:44.38 in Baton Rouge on Saturday. Capello knew what the record was going into the race and had his eyes set on it.

“It was awesome,” Capello said, Monday looking back on his championship and record-breaking race.

Capello remembered not having to work as hard to take the lead and once he had it he told himself not to panic.

“I knew I had Bryan Stamey from Episcopal right behind me and I said to myself don’t panic and if I keep at this pace I should shake him eventually,” Capello said.

After the first mile Capello and Stamey started lapping other runners and finally Capello shook Stamey off. From there Capello said he just talked himself through the race.

“I kind of forgot about the record during the race and I heard the announcer say there’s a record on the line and it reminded me and I knew I needed to go faster than a 36 in the last lap,” Capello said, a junior at Ascension Catholic High. “I saw time ticking down and I knew I had it and the announcer said boom Zach got it and that pumped me up so much. I threw my fist and pointed in the stands and it was just fun.”

ACHS head track coach Rocky Capello, also Zach Capello’s father, said it’s exciting to see him do so well.

“We started in the fifth grade and never dreamed it would’ve become what it has,” Rocky Capello said about Zach’s running career.

Rocky Capello said this is Zach’s most important year because colleges want to see it that spring of junior year and “that’s when they generally tend to offer you or at least decide who they want to look at closer.”

“He knows it’s important and he wants to get down under 4:20 in the mile, under a 9:20 in the two-mile and try to get as much attention as possible,” Rocky Capello said.

Zach said he received an email Monday from LSU inviting him to go tour with a group on March 6. He said he definitely will try to make that visit, but if not he will go in April for sure.

Zach isn’t sure where he’s going to go but he knows what criteria he’s looking for in a school.

“I’m going to look at the coaching, the program, the facility and academics in any place I choose,” Capello said.

Zach and Rocky don’t talk about running a lot at home believe it or not. Rocky said he tries to leave it all on the field as much as possible “unless he wants to talk about it.”

Zach also owns the 1A Cross Country state record and now with his second all-time best race he still isn’t satisfied.

“There are some outdoor records still waiting to be broken,” he said.