Sports Figure of the Month: Addi Zerrenner

We are proud to announce Addi Zerrenner as April’s local Sports Figure of the Month. Tomorrow we will unveil May’s honoree, bringing to 15 the number of local sports figures that we’ve highlighted since starting this monthly series in 2011.

This award is made possible by American Riviera Bank

Dos Pueblos High School sophomore running sensation, Addi Zerrenner, who exploded on the CIF scene just last year with her Usain Bolt-like lightning speed — set two records at the Santa Barbara County Track & Field Championships last month and, together, with her world vision of Athletes Assisting Others (AAO), has been named Sports Figure of the Month for April 2012.

At Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium, Zerrenner shattered the 23-year record in the 3200 meters by 11 seconds with a new mark of 10:44.18.

Addi Zerrenner

Addi is the school record-holder for Dos Pueblos in the 3200 meters.

In the 1600, she shaved five seconds (5:05:78) off the previous 2004 standard.

This Just In …

During CIF, Zerrenner has advanced through several meets to reach Saturday’s State Meet in Fresno. At last weekend’s Masters Meet at Cerritos College, she ran a season-best 10:28.01 in the 3200 meters.

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DP distance coach, Len Miller believes Addi is already on course to become a World Class runner – his a voice of experience having coached two of these ultra-elite runners over his decorated career.

Now, maybe three …

“Addi is ‘the real deal,” he says. “Not only is she a great runner … but she’s a great young lady … and a great human being.”

“We’ve developed a great relationship. He’s an awesome coach!“ Addi says of Miller.

A 4.0 GPA student recently elected junior class president come September –she’s already a multiple SB Athletic Roundtable Athlete of the Week award winner.

And she set a Cerritos course record in her first-ever cross-country meet…

“I just went for it,” she says with a smile.

Indeed she did!

Addi also holds DP records in the1600 (5:02) and 3200 (just lowered to 10:28.01) – its all a little bittersweet as, until recently, these belonged to her friend and early running mentor, Erin Campbell.

And for the ever-humble and big-hearted Zerrenner, 16, she takes it all, well, all in stride …

“I have a great family, friends and teammates – it’s all one big effort,” she adds.

She doesn’t care for the spotlight but there is no denying her standout athletic qualities that continue to flourish …and it’s not just the running … it’s her love of running that also sets her apart …

“She has the heart of a Kentucky Derby thoroughbred,” Miller claims.

Addi has played all sports growing up and, like her big brother, Zack – a UCLA senior player – she found a groove in soccer.

After her inaugural high school season and then with a club team on the brink, she wandered away from the soccer field – she “fell in love with running” to keep in shape and tried track.

While some hoped she could be a sprinter, it just wasn’t in her …

“She came home that first day from track practice and said, ‘I’m not a sprinter,” said Mom Melinda, who works as a health technician at Goleta Valley JHS.

That’s when Coach Miller took a look …

After running her through some basic, light drills to assess skill level – 15 minutes later, Addi was (nicely) telling him she could do much more.

Miller, who normally just coaches the boys’ team, gradually and very carefully is bringing her along … and it’s paying off.

But life wasn’t always so easy, so rosy for her early on …

A few years out of the blocks, life took a cruel turn when her dad passed away. She was only five-years old.

They survived with the great love of their larger family who also, conveniently, live in Santa Barbara….

Addi Zerrenner

Addi, standing with Rich Hanna, was recently named Cross Country Athlete of the Year at the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table's Hall-of-Fame Banquet.

Melinda’s sister (Addi’s aunt) is Sharon Bifano, a community star whose husband Dr. George competed in biking’s grueling Race Across America contests.

Jaime Allison, founder of Moms in Motion training club fame, is also related.

This tight family love is comforting now as Melinda completes chemotherapy after breast cancer diagnosis in January … and February surgery.

Throughout it all, Addi keeps a positive outlook …

“Addi is such a great kid with an incredible work ethic and big heart,” says Dan Feldhaus DP’s athletic director. “She loves running and she loves helping people. She’s a wonderful role model and ambassador for our school…

And I’m glad we’ll have her here for a couple of more years!”

She’s ‘a giver’ and further developing her humanitarian focus as a member of DP’s Red Cross Club.

On her own, she is cultivating her Athletes Assisting Others vision — in first asking teammates, schoolmates and local athletes to donate gently-used sports equipment that could be shipped to countries whose youngsters have little of no sports opportunity.

Still working on launch. Stay tuned. More good stuff to follow …

And about the running — it’s hard to argue Destiny – even when you see it right before your eyes.

Perhaps an even more telling sign is like Usain – whose name Bolt is synonymous with speed.

For this local speedster, even better — like how Zerrenner translates to German:

The Runner.

So, watch out world — in any language – Addi is on the mark!!