Rebel Spotlight: Second Generation Runnin' Rebel
Oct. 29, 2002
BY JERAMY YOUNG
Jessica Zarndt loves to run. She runs fast and she runs far. She's been doing it for quite some time now.
As a freshman at Las Vegas' Cheyenne High School, she started running cross country in the fall as a way to keep in shape for basketball season in the winter. Basketball seemed to be the sport of choice for Jessica, due in no small part to her father Len's two letterwinning years with the UNLV men's basketball team from 1969-71.
But, a strange thing happened during that fall season. Zarndt discovered her talent for running. She was a four-year letterwinner at Cheyenne and led the team to two cross country state championships and one in track and field. She was also an all-state, all-conference and all-zone selection every year and finished as a state runner-up in cross country in 1997.
She definitely had a talent for running. That talent would develop into a love which would carry her not only into NCAA Division I competition, but into the Mountain West Conference Championships last year.
This weekend, she will return to the conference meet in Provo, Utah, with hopes of advancing to the NCAA Cross Country Championships in this, her senior year.
But, Jessica Zarndt does more than run. She is a kinesiology major who hopes to attend medical school after graduation in the spring. Zarndt serves as the student senator from health sciences and as the senate president pro-tempore. She also is an exceptional student, finding her way to the Dean's List more than once and to the all-conference academic team twice.
Zarndt was born in Las Vegas and has lived here all her life, if you don't count the two years she spent at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she competed for the rival Wolf Pack before transferring to UNLV in 2001. While at UNR, she was the 2000 Big West Conference champion in the 10,000 meters.
"I wanted to experience college life without mom and dad," she said. Her love for Las Vegas, however, brought her home and she has continued to flourish ever since as a Rebel.
Running is more than just a sport for Zarndt. "It's a metaphor for life," she said grinning. "Life is all about endurance, making it through all the obstacles in your way and coming out with your head held high. Running is the same thing. It's all about personal discipline and self control."
Zarndt has used that discipline and control to make herself a model student-athlete. And, the Rebels are proud to have her.
A Family Tradition: Jessica Zarndt (2001-Present) and father Len Zarndt (1969-71)