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2012-13 high school student-athletes of the year: No shortage of heart

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Posted: Friday, June 21, 2013 8:56 am | Updated: 9:01 am, Tue Jun 25, 2013.

Zumbach was ultimate team player

As far as Conor Zumbach is concerned, the secret to taking on any challenge is simple.

“It’s all about heart,” the recent Bret Harte High graduate said. “As long as you have heart and go hard all the time, it doesn’t matter if you’re little or big; it will pay off in the end.”

In his four years as a student-athlete at Bret Harte, Zumbach, who played four years of basketball and three years of football, put this belief on display.

“Conor is a great young man and it has been an honor to coach him the past four years in basketball,” Bret Harte coach Jeff Eltringham said. “He played power forward for us at only 6-foot-2 and always guarded players taller than he was. He is one of the best team players I have seen, always putting team goals first over individual stats. The best thing about Conor is he plays sports for the same reason he started playing. He loves competing and having fun.

“For the past four years, Conor has represented what high school athletics is all about. I have never heard him speak a bad word of teammates or coaches. He just does whatever is asked of him. I have never seen him complain about his role on a team or even complain about a call, which is very unique in this day and age.”

Zumbach was a key part of Bret Harte’s 15-0 Mother Lode League championship varsity boys basketball team in 2012 and helped lead the Bullfrogs back to the playoffs in his senior season this winter, which included some memorable victories over rival Calaveras.

As the Calaveras Enterprise 2012-13 Male Student-Athlete of the Year for Bret Harte, he also started at fullback for the Bret Harte football team this past fall, taking on the role of a tough, physical runner the Bullfrogs needed.

“Conor Zumbach was a tremendous asset to any team,” former Bret Harte football coach Scott Edwards said. “He has a tremendous work ethic and loves to compete at all times. He understood and embraced his role, and to the best of his abilities, always carried out his assignment in a physical manner.

“Throughout Conor’s career at Bret Harte, he had to battle through numerous injuries. Rather than taking his time and being patient through the healing process, he was always bothered with the fact that he could not help the team from the sidelines. As difficult as it was to hold him back, as a coach it was refreshing to know that Conor was motivated to help his team’s situation.

“As a football player, Conor was a rough and rugged running back that protected the football and earned his yards the hard way. Because of his style, I’m certain that his offensive line loved blocking for him and as well, I’m certain that defenders didn’t necessarily enjoy having to tackle him.”

Zumbach is headed off to Columbia College in the fall to start the next chapter of his life, but he made a lasting impact on the Bret Harte community.

“During his time as a student-athlete, Conor Zumbach made Bret Harte a better place,” Edwards said. “He was a great representative of the school and a friend to everyone on campus.”

© 2015 Calaveras Enterprise. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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