Red Bank Catholic adds love of faith to lacrosse star’s game
FROM THE MONITOR
By Rich Fisher | Contributing Editor
When Jack Zenkert arrived at Red Bank Catholic High School as a freshman, he already loved to play football and lacrosse but wasn’t overly zealous about attending church.
Nearly three school years later, his devotion to faith has reached the same level as his devotion to sports.
“Ever since I came to Red Bank Catholic, I’ve been involved with things like FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and Catholic Athletes for Christ,” said Zenkert, an Oceanport resident who belongs to Precious Blood Parish, Monmouth Beach. “Once I started going to Red Bank Catholic, it definitely elevated my relationship with God.”
“Before it was like, church was something I had to go to with my parents,” he said. “But now that I really understand the meaning of it, it’s something that I want to do. Red Bank Catholic helped me understand that 100 percent.”
Zenkert has always understood lacrosse, which is obvious when looking at the RBC statistics. After collecting 23 goals and seven assists as a freshman, he reached new heights last year with a team-high 64 goals, 16 assists and 34 ground balls as RBC improved from 4-12 to 8-11. This year, through a 3-3 start, Zenkert led the team with 23 goals to go along with seven assists and 13 ground balls.
He is the first to admit last year’s outburst took him somewhat aback. “I didn’t even realize I had that many until toward the end of the season.”
Zenkert became interested in lacrosse in fifth-grade, when he saw some friends playing. “From the second I started playing, I loved it. I played football and basketball, and this was kind of a mix with the hitting from football but with more of the teamwork and passing aspect of basketball. It kind of combined all the sports.”
He quickly joined the Shore Youth Lacrosse league and played from fifth to eighth grade, and started playing travel lacrosse in sixth grade. He is currently playing for the United travel team and feels that helped attribute to last year’s success, along with some added growth.
Zenkert abandoned basketball but has remained with football and was a back-up middle linebacker on the Caseys state championship team last fall. He feels the confidence and understanding of what it took to win a Non-Public A crown last fall can carry over to the spring. He, midfielder Kyle Harms, defender Jack Pollackov and goalie Luke Gueci all shared in the football title.
“We know what it takes and what it’s like to get to that point,” Zenkert said. “Once we got to that point in football, we wanted that for our lacrosse team. We’re trying to bring that to the guys that didn’t play and try to get our team to do that as well.”
The Caseys program had some glory years but fell on hard times recently. This current crop seems to be bringing RBC out of the doldrums, and Zenkert is certainly a big reason. He credits his ability to dodge and get past defenders as a key to his scoring; he also prides himself on finding an open man when the defense slides toward him.
Whatever happens, Zenkert is happy to be in the offensive end of the field.
“In almost every sport I’ve played before lacrosse, I’ve always been more defense-oriented,” he said. “So it’s fun being able to be the one that’s scoring. I always want to score just to help my team.”