Zsofia Hull is never going to get the chance to run her final lap as a member of the Skyline track and field team. With her senior athletic year permanently postponed, Hull has joined the rest of the Class of 2020 staying home and staying safe.
The past few months have become a time of loss in one way or another for almost everyone around the world. And even though Hull won’t get the opportunity to be one of the Eagles’ captains this spring, she is still able to demonstrate great leadership skills and show why she was chosen as one of the team leaders this season.
“I hope everyone is staying safe, practicing social-distancing, washing their hands, staying informed on what’s going on, and thinking about what the future might hold,” says Hull, putting the concerns for others ahead of hers. “I’m worried about my family and friends, and also the lasting impact on families who can’t necessarily work from home or who have lost jobs or have high-risk jobs.”
Instead of working on handing off the baton to runners on her relay teams, Hull has spent the past few weeks doing other things such as crafts, puzzles and reading.
“I got really into bee videos recently, so I know a lot about bee upkeep and how honey is made,” says Hull, who quickly adds, “I neither own a beehive nor plan to.”
She also trains every day – more for herself than for her team.
“I ask my coach for workouts and he’s kind enough to give them out,” she says. “It’s helped mentally to release all those endorphins. I miss school dearly. My teachers are fantastic and I miss the day to day energy with friends.”
Unfortunately, “missing” is a big part of dealing with the pandemic.
“First and foremost, I love my team and my coach,” Hull says about the Skyline track and field team. “Track makes you bond with people in a different way than the usual friendship, a combination of mutual agony, dedication, time and fun. I already miss having that this year with a truly amazing group of people. I think as a team, as well as individually, it’s all about improvement, whether that’s times, form or relationships.”
Hull also was disappointed that she didn’t get to wear the “C” this season for the Eagles. “I’m bummed that I won’t get to be captain for the outdoor season, but it meant a lot to be trusted with that type of position,” she says. “I seriously admire my previous captain, Maddy Nicholas, for her leadership skills and the general vibe she created. She was exceptional at leading the team by example and dancing across the line of fun and serious. I had hoped to live up to her example.”
Her coach, Rolando Eccleston, had zero doubts about Hull’s leadership or athletic skills.
“She is very humble, very well-liked and respected by everyone in the program, coaches included,” Eccleston says of his standout runner. “Z was a talented and fierce competitor who came up big for the team in a wide range of events. She is one of the sweetest and most thoughtful kids I’ve had the privilege to coach and has left a positive impact on the program for years to come.
“And despite missing her senior season, she still leaves the program as one of the most decorated athletes in school history as reflected in her extensive list of accomplishments.”
And that list is quite extensive. Here are a few of the highlights from last year:
1st place Regionals 1:42.76 May 17 MHSAA LP Region 04-1 @ Saline
7th place States 1:43.76 Jun 1 MHSAA LP Finals – Division 1
1st place SEC 4:03.21 May 10 SEC Red Divisional Championship Meet
1st place Regionals 4:00.27 May 17 MHSAA LP Region 04-1 @ Saline
6th place States F6 4:00.48 Jun 1 MHSAA LP Finals – Division 1
3rd place Regionals 9:29.06 May 17 MHSAA LP Region 04-1 @ Saline
7th place States 9:24.26 Jun 1 MHSAA LP Finals – Division 1
Hull also is proud of another statistic from last year. “Our women’s track team had the highest GPA in Michigan’s Division I at 3.95,” she says. “Coach Ro always says there’s a reason we’re called student-athletes and not athlete-students.”
Hull has mainly been a mid-distance sprinter during her career at Skyline and excelled on the Eagles’ relay teams. She says her freshman year was “kinda crazy.”
“We had a bunch of amazing upperclassmen who were incredibly versatile and fast, so I did my best to just keep them in sight,” she says. “I broke 60 at nationals that year which was super exciting, but that seemed slow compared to Chloe Foster, who was running 54s-55s. The 400s are where I’m best, with my open PR at 58.38.
“As a team, we’ve always had great relays. We’ve qualified for states and nationals every year in the 4×200, 4×400 and 4×800.”
For as long as she can remember, Hull has enjoyed running. To excel at something, one truly has to enjoy it and Hull has enjoyed every second she has spent in sneakers.
“I did track in middle school because a couple of my friends wanted to do it, and after practice I would run home in time for soccer practice,” she says. “So soccer was my main focus. My parents convinced me to try track in high school, saying, ‘just try it for a week, and if you don’t like it, you can stop.’ I think my original hesitation was because I go to school at WIHI, and so I had to drive straight from school to Skyline.
“What made me stay was the atmosphere of the team. Everyone is so driven and committed but they also have a bunch of fun together. I’ve made some life-long connections with teammates. And of course, Coach Ro and the other coaches are amazingly supportive in every way, academically, emotionally and in training.”
Zsofia, the daughter of Krisztina Fehervary and Matthew Hull, didn’t limit her success to track. She has a 3.85 GPA and also studies ballet. “Track is my main sport especially since ballet is considered an art. I’ve done ballet at the Community School of Ballet since I was 9 or so, so it’s been an integral part of my life.”
Hull says she is going take a year off from school before heading to college.
“I’m actually taking a gap year,” she says. “The IB curriculum has me beat. If all goes well, I’m planning on working, and spending a semester in Hungary where part of my family is from.”
What is she most proud of during her last four years?
“Oh boy, that’s a hard question,” she says. “I’m most proud of the relationships I’ve built with people and what I’ve learned from them.”
Sounds like she is on the right track for a bright future.