CLASS OF 2019: Soccer and track phenom Lauren (Zealear) Dolan to be inducted into Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame
When Lauren (Zealear) Dolan reminisces about her time at Nevada Union it’s a cornucopia of rewarding experiences, lessons learned through athletics and fond memories of competing alongside her close friends and teammates.
“It all kind of blends together. There are so many great memories,” said Dolan, who lettered in multiple sports during her time as a Miner. “When I think about, or talk about, Nevada Union athletics I feel at ease. It was such a great experience as a whole and I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.”
Dolan shined during her time at Nevada Union. On the pitch, she was a dynamic and highly decorated soccer player who caught the eye of many a college coach. On the track, she was a standout who set records in the 400-meter race, the 800m and as a member of the 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams. Dolan even found time during the winter months to carve down mountains as a member of the snowboard team.
For her many accomplishments as a Miner and beyond, Dolan is being inducted into the Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame April 27.
“It’s a huge honor,” she said. “When I found out, it really took me back to those days and how much I appreciate all the coaches, teammates, family and friends during that time. High school is your formative years and I feel like Nevada Union athletics and the community was a huge part of my character development and I can’t thank them enough for that.”
Growing up in Nevada County, Dolan said athletics were always a major aspect of her life, something she credits her parents Matt and Lauri Zealear for fostering.
“My parents always led by example,” Dolan said. “They encouraged an active lifestyle for good health and happiness, and they kind of threw us into everything to see what we liked, and not just sports but also different things like drama and playing instruments and stuff like at that. But eventually at some point you kind of find out what you enjoy and what you excel at.”
Dolan excelled in soccer above all else. The 2003 Nevada Union graduate was the Miners Offensive Player of the Year twice, an All-Capital Athletic League Selection twice and also earned All-City and All-Metro honors as well.
She also earned All-American honors as a member of the U.S. Youth Soccer team in 2001, and was a NSCAA/Adidas High School All-American in 2002 and 2003.
Dolan was in the Olympic Development Program as well. She was a member of the Cal North State Team from 1998-2001, played for the Region IV team from 1999-2001, was the MVP of an international tour to Italy in 2001, and competed on the U21 National Team from 2003-04.
LIFE AFTER NU
Dolan’s prowess on the pitch landed her a scholarship to play for and attend Santa Clara University, where she was a four year starter for the Broncos. As a freshman she played midfield, was the West Coast Conference Freshman of Year and was named to the All-WCC First Team. In her sophomore season, she played multiple positions throughout the season and helped the team reach the NCAA Final Four. In her junior year, she started every game as a defender and was named to the All-WCC Second Team. She was also named the team’s Defensive MVP that season. As a senior, she started everyone of Santa Clara’s matches at central defender and was once again named the team’s Defensive MVP. Dolan also earned All-WCC First Team honors her final season with the team.
She graduated from Santa Clara with a degree in art history and later earned a doctor of physical therapy degree from Chapman University.
Dolan said the lessons she’s learned from her athletic career have carried over into her adult life
“At a very young age sports gives you an opportunity to work with various people and presents you with various situations that teach you how to deal with adversity and how to carry yourself well when you succeed and when you might fail,” she said. “That was what was so great about the coaches and teammates is they were all there to support each other … Just learning how to move forward and grow from those situations.”
After college Dolan continued to accomplish impressive athletic feats, completing the Boston Marathon in 2013 and the New York City Marathon in 2016 shortly after her first child was born.
Dolan said she was extremely grateful to have had very supportive siblings growing up, noting the times she played on the same squads as her sister, Katie Zealear, were special and the support from her brother Dave Zealear was always appreciated.
“I was fortunate to be able to play soccer with my sister a majority of my soccer career, and that was just so enjoyable,” said Dolan. “My brother went to all my soccer games growing up and was very supportive, has been very supportive, and I hope to pass that on to my children. That example of supporting each other and doing everything as a family and doing things in the community.”
Dolan currently lives in Chatham, New Jersey with her husband Joe Dolan, a fellow former standout student-athlete at Nevada Union, and their two young children Fiona and Conor.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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