Grosse Pointe South track runners are pictured at the start of the 100-yard dash at a recent meet against Grosse Pointe North. South coach Steve Zaranek said there are about 110 girls on the team this season.

Grosse Pointe South track runners are pictured at the start of the 100-yard dash at a recent meet against Grosse Pointe North. South coach Steve Zaranek said there are about 110 girls on the team this season.

Photo provided by Mira Zaranek


South girls track program staying the course

By: Mark Vest | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 17, 2018

GROSSE POINTES —  The spring of 1980 was the first girls track and field season at Grosse Pointe South.

As is the case today, Steve Zaranek was the program’s coach.

At that time, Zaranek said, the program struggled to get kids out.

Now, more than three decades later, he said there are about 110 girls on the team.

“(It’s) my 39th year, and every year, it keeps getting a little bit deeper and a little bit richer with the traditions we have, and those traditions are based on, first and foremost, the team and supporting each other,” Zaranek said. “This group is no exception. They are really, really good about being there for each other and helping each other. It makes the coach’s job that much easier, and it’s why I keep coming back year after year.”

Zaranek believes it is going to be an excellent season for South.

He said the program has won 27 of the last 30 regional meets it has participated in, and he thinks the team is going to be right in contention again this year.

“We typically win that every year,” Zaranek said. “The regional is all about depth. You can win it without having a bunch of superstars. You can win it with pure depth. That’s a trademark of our team year after year, and this year’s no exception.”

Aside from its success at regional meets, South has also consistently been one of the top teams in the Macomb Area Conference. The program has won either a MAC Red or MAC White championship in all but four seasons since 2002.

And although it’s not all about wins, from Zaranek’s perspective, a successful program is one that is consistent. He referenced Grosse Pointe North girls basketball coach Gary Bennett as an example.

“He’s been there for so long, and the expectations that he sets are so high, but they’re attainable,” Zaranek said. “As a coach, you need to know where to set those expectations, and yet they need to be attainable. … And they can’t be based on winning, they just cannot be. If you set those expectations for the team to work together and have an amazing, productive attitude, and you just set that expectation year after year, then the winning takes care of itself.”

Zaranek said South’s coaches stress team unity more than anything else, as without it, “we could win everything and it will not be a successful season.”

“That initial component, the unity part, has really come together nicely,” Zaranek said. “We expect it to continue to take off as we move through the season and become even stronger. With that in place, there’s no doubt in my mind we’re going to achieve our potential.”