David Carl Kinder II

Zanesville’s “30 Hills” tradition goes back almost five decades

by David Carl Kinder II on July 15, 2017 at 2:27 pm

ZANESVILLE, Ohio – What started in 1971 as a conditioning test has become one of the area’s best high school football traditions.

About 70 Zanesville football players competed Saturday morning the annual “30 Hills” tradition. The tradition is simple enough. Players run up and down the hill behind Sulzberger Stadium 30 times. But head football coach Chad Grandstaff is quick to point out that it’s much more than just a cardio test.

“It’s an awesome tradition. To play football at Zanesville you’ve got to earn it. To be a part of the team and play in games you have to run 30 Hills or you’re not going to be part of the team. It’s a big part of being in this brotherhood,” said Grandstaff.

Coach Ron Apperson started the tradition in the early 70s. Over that time Grandstaff estimates that about 2,300 Blue Devil football players have participated in the yearly exercise.

In addition to the 55 varsity and junior varsity players that ran “30 Hills” Saturday morning, 15 freshman and junior high athletes also participated despite not being required to do so. Dozens of parents and fans lined the side of the hill as they cheered the Blue Deivls along.

“They did a pretty good. The idea here is just to finish. It’s not a sprint. We just want to finish it and get part of that brotherhood. The best thing I like was watching some of those guys that struggled and how their brothers picked them up and helped them get up the hill,” said Grandstaff.

The Blue Devils open the 2017 season on Aug. 25 against rival Newark.