Westfield Student Shines in Classroom & On the Field
Writer / Matt Keating
Zach Collins, a senior at Westfield High School, is an exceptional young man who personifies what an outstanding student-athlete is all about.
Collins shines in the classroom and on both the school’s baseball and football fields. His teachers and coaches say he does more than what is required of him on a daily basis.
Because of his persistent efforts, he has earned good grades and made strong friendships, too.
“I really enjoy the new friendships (on the teams) that develop, especially when playing summer baseball, along with the strengthening bonds with guys throughout the off-season and during the season in football,” Collins says.
He loves being an athlete and working hard to win.
“I also enjoy the competition,” Collins says. “I’ve grown up playing both baseball and football my whole life, and they both have a special place in my heart.”
He keeps busy on both teams with hectic seasons of multiple practices and numerous games.
“I am a catcher for baseball and an inside linebacker for football,” Collins says. “Both dirty jobs.”
Collins adds that he has a lot of admiration and respect for his coaches.
“My baseball coach is Coach Ryan Bunnell, and I have known him even before I got to high school,” he says. “I love the way he pushes me to become a better player. I also have worked with Summer Baseball Coach Cesar Barrientos during my prime development, and he has taught me catching as an art-form rather than a technique.
“My football coach is Coach Jake Gilbert, who also pushed me to my full potential on the field but really emphasized off the field as well. Coach Gilbert is encouraging to all and sees everyone’s full potential, even if it will take some work to reach it.”
Collins, who graduates in the spring, credits his teammates for helping him reach his athletic goals.
“I see football and baseball teammates as brothers, where you know that you can depend on them to get the job done since both sports rely on teams rather than individuals,” Collins says.
Collins has begun mapping out his future and has big goals.
“I would really like to go on a biology pathway dealing with biomedical studies like biomedical engineering,” Collins says. “I am still unsure which college I will attend.”
When he’s not busy in the classroom or on an athletic field, Collins can be found working with kids.
“I have tried to be a mentor to the younger classes and to show them the ropes on how both programs are run and what is expected of them,” Collins says. “When I’ve been hurt in my career, I have acted as a coach trying to improve every player on the team, whether it is baseball or football.”
“I really enjoyed being able to play against them in football the past two years on a varsity team and taking home the shooting star trophy,” Collins says. “I also really enjoyed beating them in baseball last year, where it came down to the very last strike, right before spring break.”