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JM’s Zervos Wins W.Va. High School Heisman

Senior placed 10th at XC state meet, scored 32 goals in soccer

Photo by Cody Tomer Zara Zervos of the John Marshall girls soccer team and the cross country team was named the female recipient of the 2020 West Virginia High School Heisman Award.

MOUNDSVILLE — The West Virginia High School Heisman Award seemed to be made for John Marshall senior Zara Zervos.

The honor is awarded yearly to one male and female in each state who demonstrates a solid balance of performance in the classroom, leadership in the community and teamwork in athletics.

The winner also receives a scholarship in the amount of 500 dollars.

This year, Zervos took home the award as the most deserving female in West Virginia.

She became the first student from John Marshall to win the award, which meant the world to the Monarchs’ standout.

“I’m really proud of winning this award just because so many other awards are based on one dimension — academic success or sport success — but I felt this one was really special because it’s a combination of academics, athletics and community involvement,” Zervos said. “I think everybody should be a part of all three and not just focus on one aspect of life.”

Zervos earned first team all-state honors in cross country this year finishing with a time of 20:15.57 at the state meet, and also netted a team-high 32 goals on the soccer team and finished with 140 career goals, which ranks second most in school history.

Zervos is a member of the National Honor Society, a National Merit Scholar semifinalist, and an AP scholar with distinction. The senior is also the state president for the Youth Leadership Association (YLA).

She volunteers at the Wheeling Symphony and the GEMS Camp (Girls Enjoying Math and Science) at SMART Center in Wheeling, while also volunteering with the Marshall County swim team and Special Olympics.

“I do a lot of volunteering and I do a lot of it specifically with younger kids,” Zervos said. “I just feel like the youth is something we should be involved with. They are the future of the community and I like teaching them about careers in math and science and just having an influence on the future of our community.”

Her mother, Shawna Zervos couldn’t be more proud.

“She is such a well-rounded young lady,” her mother said. “I call her the three A’s — athletic, academically sound and something that’s kind of been under the covers but she is a fine arts student and has been playing violin for 13 years.

“She is a hard worker but she still has fun. She is a good balancer of time and I’m always in awe of what she does.”

Her father and John Marshall girls soccer coach Ted Zervos has that same pride when talking about his daughter.

“Zara has always worked extremely hard to make us proud,” he said. “These types of accomplishments are very deserving for her. She works extremely hard at everything she does and I couldn’t be more proud of the effort she puts into everything — from academics to athletics to community service. She’s involved in so many things and always gives 100 percent with anything she gets involved with.”

With winter sports getting pushed back, it leaves questions to whether or not it will overlap with spring.

That wouldn’t be anything new to Zervos.

For four straight years, Zervos not only juggled soccer and cross country during the fall, but she excelled at both during her high school career.

She is also a standout swimmer and is primed for another successful track campaign in the spring.

“With winter sports getting pushed back and in turn affecting spring sports, that’s making everything difficult and it’s forcing me to focus on multiple sports at once,” Zervos said of the possibility of overlapping seasons. “There are good and bad parts of that. I can practice in the morning now instead of when it gets dark at 5 p.m. (due to at-home learning). I still feel like sports as a whole, especially in the fall, really prepared me. My coaches didn’t let a hard school schedule take away from our determination as a team or our determination as individuals.”

COVID has forced Zervos and all students to learn from home, which has become another obstacle to face but Zervos takes it as a learning experience.

“There have been good and bad parts about it,” she said. “Me being a high schooler, the fact that I don’t have to wake up until 8, that’s been nice but I just feel like a lot of my classes aren’t as in depth just because not being in person, you can’t ask questions as well. I feel like school this year has been a lot more of an on your own thing. With me taking a lot of AP tests and really preparing myself for college, I decided to do a lot more on my own studying or on my own preparation and by no means is that the teachers’ fault, it’s just a hard situation for everyone involved but I feel like I’ve done a good job adjusting.”

Despite trying to balance everything, COVID has allowed Zervos to spend more time with her little sister Zoe during their at-home learning together.

“Having my little sister home for a lot of this has been nice, too,” Zervos said. “If we have time and we don’t have classes we can go outside and play in the snow or something. That’s something we wouldn’t have been able to do on a normal school schedule. Parts like that are enjoyable to me.”

Zervos is looking at majoring in Aerospace Engineering in college and hopes to run track at the collegiate level.

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