Don’t fret over the next dual-sport collegiate threat, it‘s ex-Eagle Meyer

Springstead High’s Zack Meyer signs with NAIA’s Webber University football and Basketball along side her mother Kim Lambert.

BASKETBALL/FOOTBALL

Recent Springstead receiver,

hoopster will play both for

NAIA’s Webber University

By TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

Dual-sport standouts like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders are few and far between.

It’s hard enough for most prep athletes to make the jump playing on one collegiate team at the next level, let alone two.

So, it’s refreshing to meet ex-Springstead Eagle Zackary Edward Meyer.

Zack Meyer

You see, the lanky 6-foot-4, 175-pounder, who played football and basketball along the Mariner Boulevard campus, yearns to do the same in college.

In less than two weeks, he’ll arrive at Babson Park to begin his next chapter for the NAIA’s Webber University Warriors anticipating to play both football and basketball.

Meyer 101

Zack, as a his friends call him, was born in Brooksville’s Oak Hill Hospital to parents Edward Meyer and Kim Lambert.

Meyer is the oldest of two children and has always called Hernando County home.

Both his parents are Hudson High graduates.

His mother wasn’t an athlete, while his father participated in football, basketball and baseball for the Cobras.

Meyer traced his athletic roots to the Hernando County Family YMCA in Spring Hill.

At 5, he played soccer and stuck with it for three seasons.

Next, participated in two seasons of basketball at the YMCA before branching out to PAL (Police Athletic League) football in West Pasco County.

He remembers playing rec football until eighth grade.

As a sixth-, and seventh-grader at Explorer K-8, Meyer didn’t play a single sport.

Fox Chapel Tigers

That all changed when he enrolled at Fox Chapel and played varsity basketball for the Tigers – mostly playing power forward – as an eighth-grader.

In track and field, he focused on the 400 meters, the 4×100 relay and 110 hurdles.

In fact, he won the gold medal in the 110m hurdles during the Hernando County Middle School Athletic Conference Track & Field Championship Meet in 2014 at Nature Coast Technical’s Shark Tank Stadium.

Once he matriculated to SHS, Meyer gravitated to two sports: football and basketball.

Mike Garofano. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

He played three seasons under Mike Garofano on the gridiron at receiver.

For a program – not know for its vertical attack – Meyer caught an occasional pass, but mostly helped with down field blocking.

Midway through his junior season, just prior to the Land O’ Lakes game, he tore his ACL and meniscus and missed the remainder of the season and all of basketball that winter.

After latching on two passes as a sophomore and junior, Meyer was fully recovered prior to 2017 and hauled down a team-high nine receptions.

He led the team with three grabs for 48 yards against first-year Cypress Creek.

In basketball, he spent his freshman season on jayvee.

As a sophomore and junior, he flew under the radar averaging just over two points a game.

The knee injury stunted his development.

However, he came roaring back in 2017-18.

Springstead High’s Zack Meyer soars over the Tampa-King defense in the Class 7A, Region II Quarterfinal. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Meyer, the county’s fourth-leading scorer, tossed in 132 field goals, including more than half (67) being three-pointers.

He finished second on the team in scoring at 14.1, ranked third in the county in foul shooting (.797) and finished fourth in the circuit in treys.

Meyer was one of five Eagle seniors that guided SHS to its eighth district championship in 42 winters and its first in nine years.

Outside of the Landover Boulevard gymnasium, Meyer steadied himself in the classroom.

After he said “I slacked off as a freshman” he steadily rose his grade point average finishing with a 3.0 unweighted and a 3,1 weighted GPA.

His favorite courses included Ms. Duchelle’s U.S. History and Coach Jay McNerney’s World History classes.

Asked what his favorite sport is, he gave a political answer: both.

“In football, I definitely like offense. I like putting points on the board,“ expressed the 18-year-old. “I played for a program that didn’t throw much, so I had to enjoy blocking and being able to block.

“… I’d describe myself as sure-handed and a good blocking receiver. I improved the most in football in route running and blocking.”

“In basketball, making a bucket and adding the free throw is great and connecting on threes is a lot of fun,” he said. “When I was a freshman, I just had a mid-range jumper.

“But I’m the type of guy that lives in the gym. I kept working and working on my three-point shooting.”

On the biggest lessons learned after suffering his ACL tear, “It‘s definitely not to take anything for granted,” shared Meyer. “I took the injury as a blessing; it really humbled me.

“When I came back on the field, that’s when it all clicked. We might not pass the ball much, but I had to do whatever I could to help the team win games. My time will come when we’ll throw it.”

Springstead’s, Zack Meyer defends against Superior Collegiate Academy’s Robert Hardy during the Springstead Basketball Classic sponsored by Gators’ Dockside. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Meyer doesn’t begrudge his injury.

“As a sophomore, we had a stacked team, I had to wait my turn (on varsity). I figured my junior year would be my chance to shine, but it didn’t happen,” he lamented. “I used the injury as motivation. I knew I was the sleeper going into my senior year. Nobody knew who I was. I used that for motivation.”

Meyer easily indicated which basketball games stood out in his prep career.

Individually, on Senior Night against visiting Holiday-Anclote, of the 19 games he reached doubles figures, he dropped in a career-best 29 points on the Sharks.

In a 9-of-16 shooting effort behind the arc, his nine treys broke Ryan O’Connell’s 29-year-old school record for most three-pointers in a single game.

Ryan was Head Coach Greg “The Big O” O’Connell’s son.

The biggest team win? Again that was easy.

SHS’ last-second 68-67 nod over always-tough Land O’ Lakes helped hoist the Class 7A, District 8 trophy under skipper Matt McGarry.

“That was a crazy game. We were up and then down and then won it on free throws,” beamed Meyer. “At the end, we had 2-3 starters on the bench; they had fouled out. That’s a game that’s hard not to remember.”

Selecting Webber

In the college selection process, Meyer was adamant he wanted to play two sports at the next level.

He also decided he did not want to play out of state.

He had feelers from Lakeland’s Southeastern University, basketball-only Trinity College, and Lake Wales’ Warner University.

“When I visited Webber, I immediately enjoyed it,” recalled Meyer. “It’s a smaller school. I didn’t want to get lost in a big school. After I met the receiver’s coach, we just hit it off.”

Most importantly, Meyer could study his major: criminal justice at the Babson Park campus.

For someone who diligently watches CSI and NCIS, he aspires to become a homicide detective.

“I’ve heard that there’s a lot of hours involved and it’s a tough line of work, but I’m up for it,” explained Meyer.

On why Myer insists on battling against the odds of playing two sports at the next level, “It’s my dream to play both,” he said. “I never chose between them; so why start now? If one sport gives me the opportunity to pay at the next level, why not two? I’m not just chasing my dream.”

When Meyer reports, “Webber is getting a hard worker and a team-first guy,” he insists. “I’m always in the gym working out on my game. I don’t talk much.

“I football, I’m always looking to make a play or make a nice block. We’re running a West Coast-type passing offense at Webber.”

In the short term, “I’d like to get better every day. Get bigger, stronger, faster,” revealed Meyer. “In the long term, it’s chasing my dream in life of becoming a better man and a better person.”

On what could be standing in the way of success, “Time management in college is huge,“ identified Meyer. “But since my freshman year at Springstead, I’m used to it. I’ve stayed true to my academics. My GPA should’ve been better than what it was; I’m better than that.

“…I know I slacked off as a freshman. I’ve been playing catch-up ever since,” he added. “I‘ve been fortunate that my girlfriend (Leslie Vanh) is so bright. She’s helped me keep my grades in check. She’s really smart.”

Looking ahead

Prior to shoving off for Polk County, “I’m ready for the next challenge,” expressed Meyer. “To be honest, I’m a little nervous, but it’s also exciting to be ready to go.”

Randy Morgan                               Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Since commencement exercises, Meyer has been working out with 2017 Hernando County Player of the Year, Randy Morgan, running routes, defending each other, and lifting weights.

For spending cash, Meyer has worked as a basketball youth referee for I-9 Sports before alternating working between the Philly’s Best I and II restaurants.

He’s expected to report for Webber’s football camp on Tuesday, Aug. 1.

Cards of thanks

Before departing Hernando County, Meyer wanted to thank Webber’s receiver’s coach for the opportunity to play for the Warriors and commend SHS mentors Garofano and Frank Hynes.

Frank Hynes

“Coach Hynes is Springstead’s recruiting coordinator. He’s the coach that really helped me narrow down my coaches for school. He was always an asset,” detailed Meyer.

“Garofano was always trying to do what was best for me,“ noted Myer. “I appreciated that. He always stressed you can‘t get better if you miss workouts. I remember I missed some workouts when I was younger; then the light went off. I haven‘t missed since.”

“Lastly, I owe my parents so much,“ he said. “They always got me to those early morning practices and far away games.”

Springstead’s Zack Meyer tries to run the baseline against Tampa-King in the Class 7A, Region II Quarterfinal. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Before zipping off in his 2001 white Toyota Camry, “I’d like to be remembered as a hard worker,” expressed Meyer. “As someone who never got in trouble.

“… As someone who set the school record for most three-pointers in a game and for being a part of a tremendous district championship basketball team.” 

By the Numbers:

Springstead’s Zack Meyer (2015-18)

– Compiled by TONY CASTRO

Springstead High’s Zack Meyer elevates for two points against Tampa-King in the Class 7A, Region II Quarterfinal in Spring Hill. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
 

YEAR

 

YR

 

GP

 

FG

 

3-PT

 

FTA

 

FTM

 

.PCT

 

TP

 

PPG

2015-16

10

22

24

0

16

11

.688

59

2.68

2016-17

11

1

1

0

0

0

.000

2

2.00

2017-18

12

27

132

67

64

51

.797

382

14.1

 

TOTALS

 

50

 

157

 

67

 

80

 

62

 

.775

 

443

 

8.86

 

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