Zev Motew has become pretty good at negotiating obstructed straightaways, curves and turns — at an accelerated speed.
He does it for sport. He’s a hurdler for the Highland Park High School boys track and field team.
Motew, not your typical teen, not by a long shot, also knows how to broker deals.
The HP senior used to drive a black 1995 Jeep.
It was a head-turner.
“A beast,” said the HP senior.
“Coach [Steve Buti] loved it,” Motew added. “He was obsessed with it.”
But Motew got a little fickle one day.
“Sold it for a Harley,” he said.
Yep, he got himself a HOG, a 2016 Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
“It’s a beauty,” said Motew.
You know. Just your typical North Shore teen making an ordinary, run-of-the-mill transaction.
Longest road trip so far? He breezed to Milwaukee and back.
“Love being alone, love going through wind,” he said.
Motew started traversing over hurdles — and dealing with all kinds of wind currents — during his freshman year at HPHS.
He got pointed in that direction by ex-head coach and current assistant Kevin Caines.
“I started out doing pretty well at it,” Motew said. “So I kept at it.”
A former football player with the Giants, Motew is not afraid to tackle barriers. Dealing with obstacles, especially those with wooden bars in front, never comes easy. But there is … satisfaction.
“I like the hurdles because it’s hard,” said Motew. “Hurdles are a challenge.”
Motew motored to a first-place finish in the 300-meter low hurdles at the CSL North Meet on May 12 at HP’s Wolters Field. His time of 42.14 didn’t break any speed records or sound barriers or even surpass his personal best (41.96), but it did “booster” his confidence heading into the Class 3A Niles West Sectional on May 18.
“If I’m clean and smooth over the first four hurdles, then I’m good,” said Motew.
Motew, who will attend Worchester Academy in Massachusetts in the fall, just missed being a double winner in the league meet. In the 110-meter high hurdles, the muscular 5-foot-11, 180-pounder with a big ol’ tattoo on his back bumped the 10th and final hurdle, allowing Deerfield’s Cole Kellow to squeeze out a victory. Motew was clocked in 15.45. Kellow, in 15.29.
“Until I smacked that last hurdle, I was going faster than I’ve gone,” said Motew. “That knocked me off balance. Screwed up my rhythm.”
Motew has done decent work this spring. After winning the 55-meter hurdles (7.83) at the CSL North Indoor Meet in March, he took fifth in the 110s at the highly competitive Lake County Meet (15.58) at Lake Zurich on May 4.
Getting out of the blocks has been a bit of bugaboo for him. But that wasn’t a dilemma for him in the league races. He had good starts in both races.
“He still needs to put together a great race,” said Buti. “But he’s right there.
“He’s got a shot at making it to the state meet,” the coach added.
Motew’s PR in the 110s is 15.37. The state cut is 15.02.
When he’s not crossing over hurdles or cruising on his Harley, Motew is spending time with Kaya, Stella and Zeke. The three “mutts” that his family acquired from a rescue shelter.
“I’m a pretty big dog guy,” he said.
And here’s another thing we learned about Motew. The kid can’t get enough of the film, Step Brothers — the 2008 comedy starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.
“It’s just so funny. It never gets old for me,” said Motew, with a wide smile. “I’ve watched it 100 times.”
In fact, he said, “I think I’ll go home and watch it again tonight.”
That, unofficially, would be a personal record.
Notable: Highland Park finished third in the team standings at the CSL North Meet. The Giants scored 101 points to place behind Deerfield (177) and Vernon Hills (101). … Senior Jonathan Rosenfeld was one of HP’s headliners, winning the 1600 in 4:30.16. The team had three runner-up finishes: junior Alec Glazier in the 3200 (9:49.26), junior Zach Auerbach in the discus (141-1) and the 4×200 relay team of Ben Davis, Andrew Derdena, Jonathan Rossen and Michael Menaker (1:36.27). Third-place finishers included junior Fitz Laurie in the 800 (2:01.95), junior Nate Amster in the 3200 (9:55.86) and senior Joe Sereda in the discus (137-10). Fourth-place finishers were Davis in the 100 (11.51), senior Ben Bloom in the 800 (2:02.10) and sophomore Joseph Beaudet in the 110 hurdles (17.07). And the fifth-place finishers were Menaker in the 200 (23.88), senior Matt Casey in the 1600 (4:44.65), Beaudet in the 300 hurdles (45.62), Auerbach in the shot put (43-9) and sophomore Ben Kirsch in the pole vault (12-1).
HP Girls Track
She’s heading to the state meet.
Which is hardly a surprise.
Highland Park freshman Stephanie Kriss continues to impress. She earned a trip to the Class 3A state meet in Charleston on May 19-20 after another strong showing in the 800 meters.
In one of the premier events at the Loyola Academy Sectional on May 11, Kriss finished the two laps in 2:17.91 (7th place). She was one of eight runners to make the state cut of 2:19.88.
Kriss will be trying to improve on her personal best (2:12.83), when she lines up to run on the oval at Eastern Illinois University.
Junior Veronica Kriss capped off her season by placing fourth in the 3200 meters (11:32.79). Freshman teammate Jillian Butler came in fifth (11:42.61).
HP’s 4×200 relay, featuring senior Emily Shimanovsky, junior Riley Williams, sophomore Annelise VandenAkker and Zoe Romoff, scored a team point with a sixth-place finish (1:48.72).
Freshman Maddie Sands also scored a point, taking sixth in the shot put (31-10).