By DAVID GRAVELY
The transition from being a high school student to a college student can be a tough one. Sometimes the initial plans a young student makes just don’t work out, and they have to look at another plan. Many times, that leads to moving away from something you loved, but in one case it’s moved a former Cougar student athlete right back on track.
Fresh off of the 2008 football season that saw the Cougars go 12-1 and falling only to the Amherst Lancers in the State Semi-finals, Zane Quesenberry made plans to attend Emory and Henry. After a successful freshman season on and off the field, things didn’t fall into place. After a tough decision he transfered to Virginia Tech.
“It’s very frustrating as a freshman not to get any playing time, but that’s the case for all freshman all over the country no matter the level of play” said Quesenberry. As an 18 year old it was hard for me to wrap my mind around this though, because I guess I thought I was ‘good’. But not getting playing time, along with a combination of all of my friends being at Virginia Tech I was kind of being pulled to VT because I saw how much fun they were having. I wanted to be apart of that because college is suppose to be fun, right? I think I had somewhat of a reality check though last fall, and I realized I could be doing so much better for myself. So I set my mind to making that change and finding a place I could call home, and do what I loved and missed even more, play football.”
“Not a day went by since I left Emory and Henry that I didn’t regret giving up football,” said the former offensive and defensive standout. “I gave it up because I let other things influence me. It didn’t take long before I started thinking about how it would be to play again, and to wonder if that was at all possible. After thinking about it for a while, I started looking for schools and sending out some emails to see if anyone would be interested in having a guy that hadn’t played in two years. Maryville College in Tennessee got in contact with me, so I set up a visit.”
The Fighting Scots weren’t exactly getting an inexperienced player. In three years Quesenberry had 9 catches for 245 yards on the offensive side of the ball, but his specialty was defense. All told he had 12 interceptions, including 7 in the 2008 season. Add to that total 18 pass deflections, 204 total tackles, one tackle for a loss, and three touchdowns. He helped lead his team to a 2008 River Ridge District Championship, an undefeated regular season, a Region 4 Championship, and were just short of making it to the big game. All together there were ten players from that class that went on to commit to colleges that ranged from Bridgewater to Virginia Tech.
“I fell in love with this place,” said Quesenberry.”I was unsure if I could handle another transition, plus they were going through a complete coaching staff change. I met the new coaches, and decided to make the commitment. I made one to them, and I made the commitment to myself that I would give it everything I had to get in the best shape of my life. I didn’t want to have any regrets when it was over. Between December and August I went from 160 pounds, what I had weighed in high school, to just under 200 pounds.”
It was a tough road to take, and without some encouragement he couldn’t have made it. “None of this would have happened without the help of the woman that is now my wife,” said Quesenberry of his wife, Nancy Olinger Quesenberry. The two were married just this November and will reside in Maryville while finishing up school. “I wish I would have stuck it out at E&H because I would have eventually saw playing time, and I also wouldn’t be so far behind in school. I have tried looking at it very positive and as if this was God’s plan for me. I am sticking with it, and going to give it my all. I have two seasons left to play and my expected graduation is fall of 2014.”
“Now as far as the season went it was tough,” said Quesenberry. “I hadn’t hit anyone in two years or had any physical activity as demanding as our training camp was. But I stuck with it and worked my tail off. In the end it payed off, and I made the travel team to Montgomery, Alabama week one which was my ultimate goal going in. I was also rewarded with special teams playing time, and as the season progressed I was put on more special teams. As far as how the team did, we started pretty slow with a 1-3 start to the season, but after that we caught fire and finished 5-1 and an overall 6-4 record. We were 5-2 in the conference, which was good enough for a share of the USA South Title. Going into the off-season and spring camp I’m looking to compete for a starting Rover position in our secondary this coming season.”
Zane Quesenberry is just one example of the kinds of young men and women that we have here in Pulaski County. We’ve never had a ton of kids who were big enough or fast enough to attract the bigger schools, but what we do have are kids that know the value of hard work and dedication. Players like Jeff King don’t come along every day. While having talented athletes is certainly a great thing and does make winning easier for any coach, there have been plenty of times when Pulaski County has won simply because we worked harder than the other guys to get it done.
Pulaski County is proud of Zane Quesenberry, as we’re sure his parents, mother Monica Mines, step-father Mark Mines, and father Dwayne Quesenberry, and new wife are. Congratulations on your success, and know that Pulaski County is pulling for you.