Zars family creates Mill Valley athletic legacy over five years

The graduation of senior Emree Zars will mark the last year of Zars children competing in high school athletics

Kaitlyn Burke and Julia Coacher

The athletic career of the Zars family has been a successfully long one. This year, the youngest of the four siblings, senior Emree Zars, graduates and leaves behind the athletic legacy of the Zars family. As of next school year, all four of the Zars siblings will have competed at the collegiate level.

The oldest Zars sibling, and only boy, Keegan Zars, graduated in 2017 as an athletically decorated football player at school. Keegan went on to play collegiate football at Missouri Western State University.

Keegan’s performance in football heavily influenced his siblings. His confidence in the athletic abilities of his siblings pushed them to be the athletes they are today. 

“I think I had to set the bar as far as being competitive in everything you do,” Keegan said. “I like to take credit for toughening them up as they grew, never going easy on them, and doing what I could to help them improve. I always knew all of [my siblings] had the potential to be great, and they have all surpassed my expectations. I’m proud of each of them.”

Evan Zars, the second oldest sibling, played soccer her freshman and sophomore year, ran track her junior and senior years, and played basketball all four years of high school. Evan graduated in 2018 and went on to play basketball at Western Illinois University. 

Finding success in three different sports, Evan made a ripple in the school’s athletic program.

“My athletic career at Mill Valley was pretty successful for the most part, but it was also fun,” Evan said. “I have a lot of great memories with basketball like going to El Dorado and making it to the state tournament a couple of times. The track really surprised me and it is something I wish I would have done all 4 years. The coaches were so supportive and willing to teach me new skills with discus, hurdles, and high jump.” 

Elle Zars, the third sibling and another multi-sport athlete, played basketball and competed in track as a thrower all four years of high school. Elle graduated in 2021 and is currently on the track and field team at MidAmerica Nazarene University.

“My favorite aspect of playing sports at Mill Valley was being able to do it with my sisters throughout all four of my years there,” Elle said. I also got the chance to meet many good friends on both the track and basketball teams.” 

The youngest sibling, Emree, competed in basketball all four years and has competed on the track and field team for three seasons so far. Emree has had great success her senior year of basketball, being ranked first for rebounds per game and second for points scored per game in the sunflower league. Emree plans to pursue her athletic career in basketball at William Jewell College. 

“Being the youngest, I watched [my siblings] growing up and I think it really inspired me to try and be as good as they were,” said Emree. “seeing them be able to succeed in [their athletics], I didn’t want to be the only one not [succeeding].”

Being a part of the athletic programs, the Zars’ were able to find success whether that be on the field, court, or track. They have shared their appreciation and accomplishments from their high school careers and how they have taken them to the next level.

“I wouldn’t trade my career at [Mill Valley] for anything,” Keegan said. “I had success in the team aspect and individually, but I can only thank my family, coaches, and teammates for putting me in positions to be successful. Moving here in the middle of high school was tough for us as a family, but it was the best thing to happen to us kids as far as athletics is concerned. I’m extremely humbled to call myself a ‘Mill Valley Football Product’”.

 

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