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Head Coach Chris Zent Bio

Head Coach Chris Zent

Eighth Year

Zent Head


Coach Zent begins his eighth year at Deer Valley. The 2017 season saw the boys team finish 3rd at the Division 2 state meet, the second highest finish in school history. Led my super frosh Randy Espinoza and seniors Logan Wall-Harris and Josh Paduganan, the boys also finished second at the Division 2 Section 2 meet. Logan Wall-Harris finished meet runner up, Randy finished 4th, while Josh Paduganan also finished in the top 25 to help the boys qualify for their 6th consecutive trip to the state meet. At state, Randy and Logan both finished on the podium, running 12th and 20th respectively. On the girls side, the girls struggled, but still managed to qualify for their 4th consecutive state meet birth, where they finished 21st. Emily Stutesman led the way, winning the Division 2, Section 2 meet, and earned her second first team All-State honors with a 4th place finish, completing a remarkable journey back from missing her sophomore year. 


The 2014 season was a very successful year again for the boys and girls Skyhawks. Both the boys and the girls teams qualified for the state meet, with a top ten finish by the boys, as well as a 16th place finish for the girls. Coach Zent mentored Eli Cox to a ninth place finish and second team all-state honors, the second year in a row that DV has had an all-state boy runner. Amber Zehner continued her improvement finishing in the top thirty again at the state meet. The boys won the Adobe Invitational during the season, and finished in the top 5 in the Championship race at Desert Twilight. In addition, the boys again competed in the Sweepstakes D3 race at Mt. SAC, the largest cross country race in the nation.


The 2013 season was a breakthrough season for the boys team, with the men earning birth in three elite race fields at Desert Twilight, Doug Conley, and Mt. SAC invitationals. The boys finished third in their sectional meet, behind state runner up Greenway before an 11th place finish at the state meet. Three Skyhawks, Issac Cannon, Nathan Haines, and Lukas Vogt qualified individually for the state meet (the team qualified as well), and Issac Cannon walked away with 3rd team All-State honors, finishing 19th in his first season of Cross Country. The girls team had a tough year, but the young Skyhawks just missed out on a state meet birth. Amber Zehner again qualified as an individual, finishing 15th at the sectional meet, and 28th at the state meet. 


In 2012 both the boys and girls team took major strides forward, qualifying for the state meet as a team, as well as having individual qualifiers. The boys finished 23rd, while the girls finished 19th, after a 4th place finish at the Sectional meet. Dustin Ratcliff finished 14th at sectionals, and Amber Zehner, April Sorenson and Krystal Bell all qualified individually. As a whole the teams were much improved, especially the boys team, where all five varsity runners were faster than the number one runner from the prior season. 


2011 was a rebuilding year for the Skyhawks, but still saw some great individual and team accomplishments. The girls team qualified two individuals to the state meet, Senior Erin Kloberdanz (48th) and sophomore Miranda Banta (77th). Erin's place was the highest for a lady Skyhawk since 2007. The girls, all five of them, narrowly missed out on qualifying as a team as well. The boy Skyhawks were young, and showed significant improvement throughout the year. During the spring track season, depth was demonstrated as the number of runners under five minutes and eleven minutes for the boys 1600 and 3200 significantly increased.


A native of Michigan, Chris ran for Temperance Bedford High School Cross Country and Track and Field. A member of two state qualifying teams, Bedford won league titles in Cross Country during his senior year and raced to a ninth place finish, the second highest finish for the program at the time. During his time with track and field, Bedford won back to back GLL titles, providing experience with championship winning teams.


After high school, Chris briefly ran for the University of Michigan under legendary coach Ron Warhurst. After injuries limited Chris' chance to compete for the Maize and Blue, he continued to train for local races and work with Temperance Bedford High School Cross Country and Track and Field with coaches Gary Duhaime and Bob Masters. This time period included very successful distance runners including many all-state runners including future Michigan standout Mike Wisniewski.


During the 2010-2011 academic year, Chris had the chance to learn from two former standout runners in Arizona, as well as accomplished coaches. Student teaching at Sunrise Mountain provided the chance to learn from Torin Lattie, as the Mustangs charged to a second place team finish lead by individual state champion Brandon Kocmoud. In the spring, Chris worked with Mustangs of a different color at North High School and veteran Coach Brad Williams. These experiences have provided additional opportunities to understand the unique landscape of distance running in Arizona.




Temperance Bedford Cross County 1992, 1993

Temperance Bedford Track and Field 1992, 1993, 1994

University of Michigan Cross Country 1994

Volunteer Coach:

Temperance Bedford HS Cross Country 1996

Temperance Bedford HS Track and Field 1995-1997

Peoria Sunrise Mountain HS Cross Country 2010

North High School Track and Field 2011

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