Wake Forest sophomore surpasses PR by over two meters
Wake Forest sophomore throws hammer Thursday morning
Michael Campanaro and Dearica Hamby named Male and Female Athletes of the Year
Saturday's event will honor Wake Forest's achievements during the 2013-14 season
The junior turns in the third-best mark of his career at a distance of 233-3
Zeb Sion enters his third season as the throws coach for the men and women at Wake Forest University. In addition to coaching the throwers and multi-event athletes in these disciplines, Sion uses his expertise as a former strength and conditioning coach to write, oversee, and implement the team's strength and conditioning program.
Under Sion's guidance, the 2012-13 track & field season was arguably one of the best in recent history for the Deacon throwers. As a true freshman, Jessie Merckle became the first female, Wake Forest athlete to ever win an ACC title in any throwing event. Merckle's ACC winning throw of 49.59m/162-8 in the javelin was just under her school record mark of 50.32m/165-1 that she set earlier in the season at the Wake Forest Open.
Including Merckle's ACC performance, the throws squad accounted for one ACC Champion, two All-ACC performers, two school records, and three NCAA First Round Qualifiers in 2013. Ben Lincoln joined Merckle in crushing Wake Forest's school record in the javelin with a 75.36m/247-3 heave.
At the conclusion of the 2013 NCAA Championships, Lincoln's mark was the fifth best throw in the NCAA and currently ranks him as the second best javelin thrower in ACC history. This mark was the 11th best throw in the United States when ranked against post-collegiate and professional throwers. Merckle's school record toss ended the 2013 seson as the 17th best mark thrown by a collegiate athlete and 23rd best throw in the United States when compared to all American javelin throwers. For the fourth season in a row, Lincoln earned All-ACC honors in the javelin by placing third at the outdoor championships.
Erika Martin, Steve Michaelsen, and Patrick Donelan all enjoyed very successful seasons for the Deacs and scored points for the team at the ACC outdoor championships. Martin scored in both the open javelin and heptathlon for the second straight season. She improved on her eighth place finish in the javelin from 2012 with a seventh place finish and new personal best of 37.97m/124-7 in 2013.
Martin also placed 6th in the heptathlon with help from her performance in the throwing events. She threw a lifetime best in the shot put and had another quality performance in the javelin.
Michaelsen, a true freshman in 2013, threw a big personal best and placed eighth at the ACC outdoor meet in the shot put. He also qualified for the NCAA First Round meet in the discus and ended up one place out of scoring at the ACC meet. Donelan, in only his second year throwing the javelin, improved his PR to 65.32m/214-3 and placed 5th at the ACC championships. This mark also qualified Donelan for the NCAA First Round meet in Greensboro, NC and is the third farthest throw in Wake Forest history.
All of the Wake Forest throwers achieved lifetime personal bests during the 2013 track and field season. In addition to the ACC scorers mentioned above, Nate Wooten competed at a high level during both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Wooten made the final at the ACC meet in both the hammer and weight throw placing ninth, one spot out of scoring.
At the end of the 2013 season, Ben Lincoln and Steve Michaelsen represented Wake Forest at the USA Outdoor Championships. Lincoln finished 17th in the senior men's javelin while Michaelsen placed 12th in the junior men's discus.
Sion continues to build a highly competitive throws group at Wake not only through the performance of his current athletes but also through his recruiting efforts. Both of Sion's recruiting classes at Wake Forest have included state champions (Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Georgia) and All-Americans (T&F News and New Balance). In his first two seasons at Wake, Sion has brought in three throwers that ranked in the top four in the nation in their respective events as seniors in high school.
Joining the Deacs for the 2012-13 season were Jessie Merckle, the fourth best prep javelin thrower in the nation, and Steve Michaelsen, a very talented shot put and discus thrower. Sion's 2013 recruiting class included three more top ranked throwers. Casidy Callahan ended her 2013 senior season as the best weight thrower in the nation and 2nd best hammer thrower. Not to be overshadowed, Charlie Ionata comes to Wake as the 2nd best hammer thrower and weight thrower in 2013. Ionata's personal best throw in the hammer of 241-0 ranks him as the 8th best hammer thrower in high school history in the United States. Kyle Johnson, another fresh face at Wake, ended his senior year as the 12th best hammer thrower in the country.
In his first year in Winston-Salem, Sion helped Ben Lincoln break his own school record in the javelin throw twice during the season, with his top mark of 73.23m/240-3 coming at the ACC Championships and resulting in a third-place finish and All-ACC recognition. The 2012 season ended on an equally impressive performance when Lincoln, the Deacons' only participant, represented Wake Forest on the elite national level and placed 14th at the United States Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. This performance followed the NCAA Championships where Lincoln placed 18th, earning him Honorable Mention All-America recognition for the second straight year.
In addition to Lincoln, two other throwers scored in the men's javelin at the 2012 ACC outdoor championships. In his first year ever throwing, Patrick Donelan tossed the spear 61.47m/201-8 placing 6th, and Trey Blanton ended his career with an 8th place finish.
During the indoor season, Alex Hill launched the winning throw in the shot put of the heptathlon (13.29m/43-7.25) at the 2012 indoor ACC meet.
Under Sion's guidance, the Wake Forest women's squad made significant improvements in 2012. Senior Sarah Brobeck finished fifth in the javelin at the ACC Championships and sophomore Erika Martin placed eighth. Brobeck finished her career ranked second in the javelin in school history (43.09m/141-4), while Martin currently ranks sixth all-time on the chart (35.79m/117-5). Additionally, Sion helped Brobeck reach a personal-best throw of 13.50m/44-3.5 in the shot put to place fifth all-time in school history.
Prior to Wake Forest, Sion coached for four years at the University of Chicago. He served as associate head coach for track & field/cross country in his final two seasons after being promoted from assistant coach. In addition to his track & field duties at Chicago, Sion served as the department's Director of Strength and Conditioning.
Sion, the 2010 USTFCCCA Midwest Region Women's Assistant Coach of the Year, developed Chicago's throws group into a force on both the conference and Division III national level, accounting for 11 All-American accolades, 23 conference titles and 52 all-conference performances in four short years. His athletes also broke five school and conference records on multiple occasions during his tenure. Sion's athletes contributed significantly to three top-10 national team finishes during his time at Chicago and scored over three-fourths of the total team points at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships, which led the women's team to a trophy and fourth-place finish.
Before coaching at Chicago, Sion served a one-year stint as a graduate assistant coach at Idaho State University in 2006-07. While at Idaho State, he coached one Big Sky Conference champion, two NCAA West Regional qualifiers, and one All-NCAA West Regional athlete. The ISU throwers broke three school records including the men's indoor and women's outdoor shot put marks. The men's outdoor shot put record, formally held by Sion himself, was also broken during the season. In addition, 10 athletes -- including his brother Jed -- earned All-Big Sky Conference accolades in the throws or multi-events.
A native of Pocatello, Idaho, Sion threw the shot put and discus for Georgia Tech from 2001-05 and served as the team's captain in 2005. Upon his graduation, he attended graduate school at Idaho State where he completed his athletic eligibility. During his athletic career, Sion was a two-time NCAA Division I championships qualifier and two-time All-Region shot putter, once at Georgia Tech and once at Idaho State. He earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors four times and All-Big Sky Conference recognition once. In 2004, Sion was the ACC shot put champion and was named Georgia Tech's Field MVP. At one point, Sion held the Georgia Tech indoor (18.00m/59-0.75), Georgia Tech outdoor (18.11m/59-5), and Idaho State outdoor (18.34m/60-2) records in the shot put.
Sion still holds the Idaho high school state record in the shot put that he broke in 2001 with a toss of 19.58m/64-3.
In the spring of 2005, Sion was recognized as the recipient of Georgia Tech's prestigious Robert Cup. This award is given annually to Tech's top senior student-athlete. Upon graduation, Sion was one of Georgia Tech's recipients of the ACC Postgraduate Scholarship, a distinction awarded to top student-athletes from each ACC institution.
Sion graduated with highest honors from Georgia Tech in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Management. He then earned his master's degree in Physical Education and Athletic Administration from Idaho State in 2007.
In 2013, Sion earned the highest certification offered by both the IAAF and USATF in coaching education. He is now an IAAF Level V certified coach and also a USATF Level III Coach in the throwing events. In addition, Sion is recognized as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach.
Sion is married to the former Marcela Tuñón, a Civil Engineer working for Hazen & Sawyer in Greensboro, N.C., and the couple resides in Winston-Salem with their son, Ezekiel, and their boxer dog, Magnus.