Tommy Zenker’s future is bright, but it might not match the sparkle of a sensational senior year at Chaminade.
The two-sport standout’s final year was storybook. It started with a CHSFL Class AAA title and ended with a CHSAA ‘AAA’ lacrosse crown. Both victories came against rival St. Anthony, which dominated in each sport for several years.
“It was fun,” Zenker said. “I won two championships with both of the teams. It was an amazing year.”
Zenker, who will play lacrosse at Duke, wasn’t just on the football and lacrosse rosters. He played a pivotal role in each championship.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Zenker was instrumental in the Flyers first football title since 1998. He had more than 2,000 total yards on the season and scored three touchdowns in a semifinal win over Iona Prep.
On the lacrosse field, the middie had 26 goals and three assists as the Flyers defeated St. Anthony’s for its first ‘AAA’ championship since 2008.
Zenker will go from two-sport standout at Chaminade to one-sport at Duke where he’ll join Flyers teammates Brian Dunne and Danny Fowler on the national championship Blue Devils lacrosse roster.
That makes Tuesday night’s Empire Challenge possibly the last competitive football game Zenker ever played in.
“It’s kind of sad, but I’m looking forward to it,” Zenker said in a practice leading up to the game. “This is my last football game, leave everything out on the field and hope we win.”
Zenker said the Empire Challenge, an 18th annual all-star game that benefits the Boomer Esiason Foundation’s battle against cystic fibrosis, is something he’s wanted to play in for years.
“I’ve been coming to this game with my dad for years, ever since I was little playing in Huntington Bulldogs PAL,” Zenker said. “I think it’s a really cool opportunity to come out here and play with these guys.”
Zenker said it took a little time to transition from lacrosse to football in the practices leading up to the Empire Challenge. But he made the conversion quickly.
“My position isn’t very hard with catching the ball, but you’ve got to get used to it a bit, get out there, catch a couple of balls and get into the rhythm,” he said. “To be able to have one more football game to play after playing football my entire life, it’s great.”
In that last football game, Zenker was again victorious. He had two catches for 17 yards in Long Island’s 40-8 victory over New York City in front of 9,869 fans. Zenker and his teammates made history with Long Island’s third straight victory.