Getting to know…Zach Tivald

Phat Nguyen, Sports Editors

Getting to know…Zach Tivald

Meet Zach Tivald, senior running back and co-captain of the football team. Tivald has rushed for three consective 100-yard games including a career best 178-yard game against FDU leading the Colonels to one of the top offenses in the MAC. When the future physical therapist is not playing football, he is working on his dance moves.  Meet Zach Tivald, senior running back and co-captain of the football team. Tivald has rushed for three consective 100-yard games including a career best 178-yard game against FDU leading the Colonels to one of the top offenses in the MAC. When the future physical therapist is not playing football, he is working on his dance moves.

Age: 21

Major: Psychology with a neuroscience minor. I’m studying to be a physical therapist.

Hometown: Edison, NJ. It’s like right next to Rutgers University.

What’s it like being a senior captain and leading team this year? We have an awesome group of guys. Everyone on the team has the same mindset, very unselfish. It’s hard to find a team with everybody with a good head on their shoulders.

What would be your dream job after PT school? It would definitely be working with a sports team, either collegiate or pro team.

Was football one of the reasons you chose to come to Wilkes? I knew I wanted to play football in college. Mainly what won me over was the atmosphere here at Wilkes. I really like this school. Main thing is just getting an education. I’m going to have to spend four years here so I had to make sure I enjoy it.

What would be your dream job after PT school? Definitely working with a sports team either collegiate or pro football team.

Would your priority be working with a football team? That would be ideal, but I would like to get involved with general sports. I would like to do just rehabilitation, you know just getting players back in the game. Me, myself, I’ve experienced many injuries myself. It’s just not a good feeling. To aid other people through that process would be awesome.

Do you play fantasy football? I used to, but I don’t have time lately. I’ve been busy with school and observation hours. All that fun stuff.

Which game did you have more fantasy points? The game against Widenor, where you had 148 yards rushing and 2 catches for 62 yards and a score or against FDU where you had 178 yards rushing with three scores? More fantasy points? I guess I would have to go with the FDU since I know touchdowns are more heavily scored in fantasy.

You’re absolutely right. You actually scored 40 fantasy points in a standard ESPN format against FDU and 30 against Widenor. Your fantasy owners love you right now. Is there anything you want to say to your fantasy owners? (laughs) You’re creative with these questions.

Speaking of that FDU game, which was a career day for you, how were you able to have so much success against running the ball?  It all starts with the guys up front. They did a great job blocking. Those longer runs come with the other ten guys doing their assignment and blocking downfield. That’s what really. The o-line gets you through the hole, then the blocking on the second and third level. Then the receivers that’s what really springs you for those long runs.

What’s it like going into drives knowing that your going to be the go-to-guy for carries? We’re a persistent team. We’re going to keep pounding the ball. We might get stopped a couple times. Short yards here and there, but we have a bunch of explosive guys. We always have that mindset that we we’re going to score, it’s just when.

What’s it like sharing the backfield with Aux? I think we both teach each other. We both push each other. He has a great work ethic. We talk and make sure we’re both on the same page. We really make each other better players.

What’s it like to run the option with Alex? Sometimes he is ready to take a run then he could always drop it off to you. He does a great job with the spread option. He makes great reads. When we look at the film, he does the right thing a majority of the time. I have a lot of faith in him. He’s doing a great job so far.

Is there anyone one NFL player that you try emulate? Growing up my favorite player was Barry Sanders.  Nowadays, I’m a Giants fan, but I love watching the way Adrian Peterson runs. He’s just a violent runner. If you try to take him down, you’re going to feel it. I strive to be like that at least.

So you’re more of a power guy than finesse guy? I like to switch it up. I don’t know how you would categorize me.

What’s the biggest run for you this year? Have you broken any that you’re proud of? I don’t know, that’s a tough one.

How did that 77 yard run against Delaware Valley work out? It was a nice hole, then I cut it outside and like I said the receivers made a good block and I was able to outrun a couple guys down the sideline. That’s my biggest run of the year.

So you’re more of a speed back then? (laughs) You’re trying to get it out of me.

Alex George said you were the fastest guy on the team last week. Don’t know if you saw that. Did he say that? I mean, we have a lot of fast guys on the team. I guess if you’re going by numbers, I’m the fastest, but game speed is different. You run a lot faster when you step on that field. I try to keep it balanced. I don’t what I categorize myself.

I’ve noticed that you haven’t had any fumbles this year. Is there anything you have done to make sure the football is secure? We don’t talk about that. (laughs) Knock on wood. We don’t talk about that. That’s a little superstition as we say.

How were you able to condition yourself to be the feature back this year? I ran a lot over the summer. At practice we did a lot of five min periods of running, then nonstop running. We’re out there for a hour, hour and a half. Nonstop going. We’re tired but at the end of the day we’re one of the best conditioned teams in the MAC conference and that shows. Even at halftime, when that whistles blows. We’re sprinting to the other side.

What’s it like having the No.1 offense in the MAC? I mean we have a good offense, but Del Val has the No. 1 defense. To be the best we have to beat the best.

How do you feel about Wilkes SG holding a “Blue Out” tailgate to get out people out to the game? I think that’s an awesome idea. I think the support of our students is huge. I think a lot of the guys would appreciate it. I know our families always come out and tailgate before games. I hope a lot of people come out and support us.

What are you doing for Fall Break? Fall Break we have practice of course. I doubt I’ll go home . Every chance when I go home. I am a certified substitute teacher. I got my ninety credits and try to make a little money on the side. I’ll probably stay up here.

What are you going to be for Halloween? It’s in the making, I think a couple of us are thinking something up. I know two years ago we were the village people. Last year we were a bunch of nerds. This year we’re still working on it.

Who’s favorite teacher at Wilkes? Dr. Schicatano, my mentor. I’m taking a bunch of classes with him.  (Also) my dance teacher Kris Cross. She’s awesome. We actually have a bunch of kids on the team in that class. Believe it or not.

Does that translate to playing on the field? It does. I have a new appreciation for it. I know a lot of the guys are complaining about how sore they are. It’s no joke but it’s real fun.

Any chance we might be seeing you on Dancing with the Stars? I don’t know if I’m quite the performer.

What if we had a Wilkes Dancing with the Stars? I might take it into consideration. (laughs) I don’t know how well I’d do but I would try.

Tell the Wilkes community something about you that not too many people know about. They know it all. (laughs) I’m one of five siblings. I’m the second youngest.

Try to describe yourself in five words. Determined, kind, persistent, passionate and family-orientated.