• July 14, 2020

SCHOLAR ATHLETE SPONSORED BY ODESSA COLLEGE: Hung caps unforgettable year - Odessa American: Sports

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Posted: Tuesday, May 12, 2020 5:07 pm

High school athletes often find trying to balance a high GPA with success in their chosen sport very taxing.

For Pecos’ Zachariah Hung, his accomplishments as an athlete and a student have only left him wanting more.

The senior has put together quite the resume during his high school years, including qualifying for the UIL State Swimming and Diving Championships this year, along with working excelling in the classroom to earn valedictorian honors.

Hung’s achievement also includes being an Academic All-American in 2019-20, All-District swimmer for four years, making All-Regional for four years as well as a U.S. Southern Zone competition qualifier.

“I think that seeing all my hard work pay off has been really rewarding,” Hung said. “It just makes me want to strive for more. I want to accomplish more things. I want to keep studying and I want to keep working hard in the future.”

If asked to choose what his favorite athletic accomplishment has been so far, it’s qualifying for the 100-meter butterfly at the state championships in Austin.

Despite finishing 24th in the preliminaries with a time of 54.25 seconds, Hung was still proud of his accomplishment.

“I think it was a good finish,” Hung said. “I hope that experience inspires other swimmers at Pecos to keep trying hard.”

Some winter and spring sports athletes were unable to finish their seasons due to COVID-19.

While Hung was lucky enough to finish his season before the outbreak, he knows that not everybody else was fortunate.

“Sports-wise, this is just really terrible,” Hung said. “People have been training hard all year and for their events to be canceled by this, it’s just terrible.”

Finishing the remainder of the school year virtually has provided its own struggles.

“Well, first off all, I miss my friends,” Hung said. “I miss school. I don’t think we’re getting the full education right now. You just want to go see a teacher, face-to-face.”

For him, learning through a virtual setting has been a night and day difference from what he’s accustomed to.

However, he said that taking online courses with Odessa College has helped him become acquainted with online learning.

“It’s not the same as working with a teacher,” Hung said. “But for me, it’s kind of been regular because I already do classes online with Odessa College.”

During his free time, Hung has done volunteer work at a nearby nursing home and helped with Meals on Wheels.

“I think it’s been good for me to serve my community,” Hung said. “Because, you just have that feeling that you can help people and I always feel good from that.”

As far as his future plans go, Hung plans to attend school at the University of Texas at Austin and major in pre-med.

As he reflects on his last four years of school, Hung feels good about how far he’s come.

“I think one thing I’m proud of is improving all four years in school,” Hung said. “I’m proud of the work that I’ve been able to do both individually and academically.”

Odessa, TX

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