There’s been times in her track career at Georgia when rising senior Chelsea Zoller has needed a shoulder to cry on, inspiration to keep going. Now, she has that in none other than one of her teammates — and her brother — Ziggy.
Chelsea is about to begin her last year as a Dawg. Ziggy is a rising sophomore. Both began at UGA as 400-meter hurdlers — an event Chelsea still runs — though Ziggy has since been switched.
Regardless of the events, Chelsea laughs when recalling her almost about-face when her sibling joined the squad a year ago.
“At first I wasn’t sure about how I felt about him being on the team starting my junior year,” she said. “But it’s been nothing short of great! He brings a smile to everyone’s face and we hold each other accountable. We also lift each other up and push each other. This is not to mention it’s also nice having a training partner when I go home for the holidays.”
Looking back, there was no doubt the two more-than-compatible teammates would make it at the Division I level. Chelsea was a four-time state champion on the track — with three in the 400-meter run and one in the 300-hurdles. Ziggy was the leading scorer on the soccer team as a freshman before switching over.
Once he did, he qualified for state his sophomore and junior years though sickness and an injury kept him from competing at state. As a senior, he won the Georgia crown in the 300-hurdles, took second in the 110-hurdles, and also placed in the high jump.
It was precisely this versatility that caught the Bulldog coaches’ eyes this past spring.
“He started the season in the 400-hurdles, but right before the SEC Outdoors, they put him in the decathlon because they believed he could be competitive,” Chelsea said.
And they were right — as Ziggy finished sixth overall in the SECs as a freshman, after only training for the 10 events for a week-and-a-half.
“He wants to keep training for the decathlon and compete in it next year, though that’s still to be determined,” Chelsea added.
As for Chelsea, her junior year was a comeback one after suffering a broken foot and being red-shirted as a sophomore. She competed in both the 400-hurdles and the 4 X 400 relay this season.
“I didn’t run the exact times I was aiming for, though I did turn in a collegiate best in the 400-hurdles,” she said.
Her time was the ninth best in UGA history, while her 4 X 400 squad placed seventh overall at the SECs, good enough to qualify them for the Regional NCAA preliminary round in Jacksonville, FL.
Though the squad wasn’t able to compete due to scheduling logistics, it was still a great finish for Chelsea after having to go under the knife just a year earlier.
“I had already accepted an investment banking internship in New York City and another of the girls is a heptathlete; the relay would’ve fallen in the middle of her competition,” she summarized. “That being said, my track and field season came to an end earlier than I would’ve liked, but it was still a great comeback year.”
Great year, great hopes ahead, high school championship belts hanging in the den, and perhaps more honors coming at the college level. What better way to celebrate it with a great teammate… who also happens to be your brother?