Heptathlete Ashtin Zamzow Breaks Family Tradition, UT Records


Ashtin Zamzow was supposed to be a third-generation Aggie. Her grandfather was part of the Corps of Cadets and took care of Reveille. Her parents met and fell in love on the A&M campus. Her mother, Kalleen, was All-American in the heptathlon, and her dad, Stacy, ran for the A&M relay team that won the national title in the 1994 indoor championships. The family went to every A&M football game they could, and Ashtin always cheered the loudest.

“I was just a diehard Aggie. Mom said they were brainwashing us, and I remember telling her when I was young that I didn’t care because I loved it so much,’” Zamzow says.

Then, last fall, the health promotions sophomore swapped maroon for burnt orange. Originally on a track and field scholarship at A&M, Zamzow transferred to UT and broke a 27-year-old record last month in the 2016 Texas Relays. Her change of heart was mostly due to not feeling connected to coaching practices at A&M.

“They were great and I respected them, but I felt like I could get more out of practice than what I was getting,” Zamzow says. “It just didn’t feel right.”

Her Aggie family was not happy about her decision. Initially, her parents thought she hadn’t given A&M enough of a chance, and dinner-table arguments ensued.

“They were like, ‘I’m cutting you off, financially,’” Zamzow says. “Long story short, they weren’t happy with it.”

After they got over the shock, though, her parents were supportive of the transition. Her father was especially helpful in keeping her connections with the coaches at A&M. The entire Zamzow family showed up to cheer her on at Texas Relays—albeit her father in an Aggie hat. Zamzow had bought her father a white Longhorns shirt with an orange emblem for Christmas, because he refuses to wear burnt orange. Stacy wore the shirt to the relays, but covered up the emblem with a gray jacket and made sure his maroon hat was in full view.

Zamzow’s performance at the relays is big for the program, which has made recent strides to improve its performances in multi-events like the heptathlon—where each competitor takes part in the same seven events. As the outdoor track and field nationals approach, Zamzow has a chance to put Texas multis on the map.

But for Zamzow, the biggest change is moving to an urban campus. She grew up in the small town of Goliad, Texas, and is happy she made the move to a bigger city. Because the A&M campus is in a college town, being an Aggie is very centered around school and sports, “whereas at UT, you have just so many other things with the community and the actual environment,” Zamzow says.

When not defending UT to her family or training for a meet, Zamzow likes cooking, painting, and visiting the greenbelt.

Looking back now at her younger days as a diehard A&M fan, she thinks, “Dang, they really did brainwash us.”

Photo courtesy Texas Athletics.


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