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McDonald garners 2 state medals

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McDonald garners 2 state medals

Weston Ranch High’s John McDonald, left, had an outstanding two-day effort in the 95th Annual CIF State Championships on Friday and Saturday in Clovis.

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POSTED June 2, 2013 11:54 p.m.

By JONAMAR JACINTO

The Bulletin

Darrell Johnson was a year removed from graduation when then-Weston Ranch High junior Angell Mayfield made school history in 2009.

Mayfield became the first-ever Cougar to qualify for the CIF State Track & Field Championships, placing sixth in the finals.

On Saturday, Johnson got to witness school history as both coach and proud alumnus at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis. John McDonald, the new kid on the block and a local star in the making, one-upped Mayfield as a mere sophomore in the 95th annual CIF meet, placing fifth in the 100-meter dash in 10.66 seconds and fourth in the 200 in 21.42. He becomes Weston Ranch’s first double medalist at state and, of course, its highest placer.

“I’m ecstatic to see a young man like John put the effort in and have it pay off. It’s truly a blessing,” Johnson said a first-year track head coach who also leads the school’s freshman girls basketball team.

“Coming from Weston Ranch, we have a lot of football and basketball athletes, but we’re not really known for track. John put Weston Ranch on the map.”

A Texas transplant who transferred last August, McDonald has already put himself on the map locally. He earned Valley Oak League championships in both events, won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV/V 200 title while taking second in the 100, and finished third in both at the SJS Masters meet. All of those achievements pale in comparison to what he accomplished Friday and Saturday.

McDonald broke personal records in both races during Friday’s preliminaries, improving his 100 time by over two tenths of a second to 10.62 and clocking in at 21.32 in the 200.

“It feels amazing right now,” said McDonald, a veteran sprinter who began competing as a fourth grader in Texas. “Coming out here to a new state and meeting different people at a different school, I didn’t know what to expect. But with hard work and great support from my coaches and a lot of other people, I’m grateful to be able to do what I did.”

The winner of both events, as expected, was Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) senior Khalfani Muhammad, whose 100 time came up three hundredths of a second shy of the 21-year-old state meet record. He then blazed to a 20.86 finish in the 200. Muhammad has committed to play football for Cal.

McDonald was one of two sophomores in the otherwise all-senior group of finalists. Like McDonald, Upland’s Myles Valentine qualified in both sprints, but he only competed in the 100 and took second in 10.48.

With two more very-possible trips south to make in the future, McDonald said there is still much work to be done.

“There’s always going to be somebody new there,” he said. “There is going to be some competition. Next year I’ll be a junior and my legs will be stronger, so we’ll see what happens.”

Coach Johnson hopes McDonald will have some company. He is hopeful that McDonald’s success will inspire other Weston Ranch athletes to come out for track.

“I think it’s going to help a lot,” Johnson said. “John is also a football player, and with him getting some recognition in the newspaper his teammates are seeing it. I think we’re going to get more kids out next year.”

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