Jackson McDonald: The Reality of Track and Field


The 4×400 team after placing 4th at State Championships in 2022. Featured  (Left to Right) are Jacinto Jones (’22), Jackson McDonald (’23), and Matt Fisher (’25).

Liberty Grant, Writer

Track and field is not a sport for the faint of heart. With practices five days a week and meets that can last as long as ten hours, it requires a lot of time, and requires a committed heart. However, there are some student-athletes who choose to rise to the challenge and even manage to stick with the sport all four years of high school. Boys Track Captain, Jackson McDonald (‘23), is one of these individuals.

Jackson McDonald has been running on both the indoor and outdoor track teams since 2019, and has also been a member of the cross-country team. He specializes in hurdles while also running long-distance sprints. He has also amassed many achievements, including 2nd place at nationals in 2022 for the 4×400. At the beginning of his senior season with the indoor track team, he was voted as captain, a huge achievement amongst the team.

Jackson has said that while he loves track and his team, it can still be very difficult. He has faced many failures and setbacks during his career. He recalls a failure from a meet during his sophomore year that has stuck with him ever since, “I got second to last in the 4×200 in the state meet. I was devastated, and ever since I wanted to make it up to my team,” Jackson said.

Through these failures and setbacks, Jackson has had to find ways to overcome them. “I started telling myself that one race doesn’t define how good of a runner you are, but it determines how far you are willing to push. So, I make a goal to convince myself that even though I don’t want to do a certain event, I try to make myself want to do it,” Jackson said.

Alongside a new mindset and new goals, Jackson went on to run in state, national, and international meets with the 4×400 team during his junior year, marking one of the boy’s track team’s greatest accomplishments.

Many of Jackson’s teammates have watched him grow since he changed his mindset on how to achieve his goals. One of those teammates, Jesse Woolstenhulme (‘24), remarked, “Jackson has the best work ethic of everyone at track and leads by example. It doesn’t matter if it’s an easy run or if people are literally falling over around him, he will get it done. Beyond this though, he always looks for opportunities to help out. He is dependable and tough.” He currently runs alongside McDonald on this year’s 4×400 team.

This year, Jackson and his team hope to once again make it to internationals, with a possible sponsorship from Nike. He looks forward to a promising end to his final season with his team.

“After all this time, I choose to keep running because it makes me feel free, from everyone and everything around me. It’s my escape,” said Jackson.

The next meet takes place at the Regional Finals on Friday, Feb. 17, at the PG Sports Complex.