Kellie Macdonald’s athletic upbringing is going to cost her father some hair.
The Beaver junior overcame the effects of a recent quadriceps injury to win the 2A state long jump title at BYU’s Robison Track, using Beavers coach Scott Macdonald’s calming influence.
The coach and dad was the first to greet her with a big hug and kiss, and now he’ll pay the price — with his scalp — for the championship.
“I made a bet with my dad,” Kellie said. “And now he has to shave his head.”
Parents coaching their children is not particularly extraordinary in the state high school sports scene, especially in track and field. But it sure made for a special scene early in the first day of the state meet. Kellie Macdonald was given the freedom to look at the sport, experiment with different events and found her dad’s event that he happened to do in high school.
“The best part is, I got to watch her compete every minute and every second,” coach Macdonald said, pointing out his main focus is sprinters and jumpers. “She’s been battling an injury, but I told her just to relax and enjoy it. She had a nice pop-up. Combine her mechanics with her natural speed, and she was able to perform to the best of her ability.”
Macdonald cleared barely over 17 feet, finally finding her “mark” to jump from after fouling on two of her first three jumps.
“I had a good season, then got hurt,” said Macdonald, a nearly flawless student (3.9 GPA) who is also a favorite to win Saturday’s 100-meter hurdles. “I wasn’t feeling as confident the past few days in getting ready (for the state meet). But finally I was able to settle down and relax.”
Scott Macdonald said it was a great level of “satisfaction” to see his daughter perform so well.
“It’s your daughter, so you can give her a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. I can’t be that way with all the other athletes, even though of course you want them all to do just as well,” he said, laughing.
The Macdonalds weren’t the only Southern Utah participants in good moods.
On the girls’ side, Panguitch freshman Whittni Orton won the 1A 1,600 (5:23.83)– one of the first events on the docket of the two-day event. Her name will be heard in distance races for quite a while, as she followed up her cross country title from the fall.
For the boys, Kanab’s Daven Russell took home the 2A discus championship (a little more than 147 feet). The junior won by nearly four yards.
Blake Kvarfordt of Desert Hills captured a 3A discus title (160 feet, eight inches). His was the most locally competitive event, even though his victory margin was big (16 1/2 feet on second place, Kazden Jolley of Hurricane).
Five of the top seven placers were from the St. George surroundings.
But it didn’t get any closer at any event than 1A high jump, where a pair of Panguitch teammates went 1-2 — with the first-place decision resting on clearance order.
Dalan Bennett, a senior, edged out junior Tyce Barney.
“We hoped they would go one-two and were excited when they did,” Panguitch coach Troy Norris said.
Each cleared six feet. Bennett did it on his first try, Barney on his third. Then each missed all three chances at 6-foot-2.
“They were both close,” Norris said. “And it would have been a personal best for both of them. I think they were most concerned about getting points for their team.”
There were also a couple other noteworthy runner-up finishes.
Aimee Bryson of Cedar was second in the 3A 1,600 while Milford’s Ethan Young did it in that event for 1A. (Keldon and Kyler Norris padded Panguitch’s point total by finishing fourth and sixth, respectively, as the team tries to better last year’s seventh-place 1A finish).
Tiera Orr, a Desert Hills freshman, was second in the 3A long jump.