Audrey Zimmerman

Bryan’s Audrey Zimmerman runs during a Division III regional cross country meet in Tiffin on Oct. 26. RYAN SQUANDA/Staff

What a cross country career it was for Audrey Zimmerman.

As inarguably the best girls runner to ever come out of Bryan, Zimmerman was a one-time state qualifier and three-time regional qualifier to go along with a school record 5K time of 19:30, set at the Columbus Grove Invitational early in the 2019 season.

Zimmerman ultimately fell two places short of returning to the state meet this season, but her body of work during her senior year was enough to earn the distinction of Bryan Times Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year for the second straight season.

Zimmerman said she’s loved running for Bryan during the past four years, and it didn’t truly hit her how much she’ll miss it until she finished her last race at the regional meet in Tiffin.

“I definitely didn’t think I’d be sad as I was,” Zimmerman said. “But I got done, and one of my teammates was crying, so then I started crying realizing that I was actually done.”

Possibly one of her favorite parts of her high school experience was the closeness she felt to her teammates and coaches.

“I appreciate the team and the coaches,” Zimmerman said. “I’ve had a great four years with them. I’ve kind of had some switches with my coaching within those four years, but this year with Mr. Kaullen and Mr. (Gleckler), it’s been a great year to end it all, and the team was really great this year, too. I appreciate having them as a backbone. It’s a great family.”

Bryan cross country coach Matthew Kaullen, who has coached Zimmerman for the past three years, said she’s been the ultimate role model throughout her career.

“We’re very, very proud of everything she’s brought to the program,” Kaullen said. “She had one of her best seasons she’s ever had, and I think to close out your senior year with those types of times and that amount of effort, she can hold her head high for sure that she put it all out there, and she gave it her best every single time.”

On top of her cross country exploits, Zimmerman was also a starting defender on the girls soccer team, making her one of the busiest fall athletes in all of northwest Ohio. There were times throughout the season she’d compete in as many as four to five athletic contests a week, even if it meant hopping in a car to head to a soccer match moments after crossing the finish line of a cross country race.

Although the multi-talented Zimmerman doesn’t plan on playing sports in college, she’s not quite done with her athletic career. With a swim season and track campaign to go, she still has a few goals left to accomplish.

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