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The student news site of Emmaus High School



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Balancing work and school
February 22, 2024

    McCargo breaks record in senior season

    Photo Courtesy of McCargo.

    This previously ran in our February 2023 print issue. 

    Donavan McCargo excels in football during the fall, but come winter and spring when the football season ends, he transitions into a new sport: sprinting.

    On the Emmaus track and field team, McCargo reaches for one of the biggest goals in his high school career: breaking five school sprinting records before graduation. Given McCargo’s athleticism, perseverance, and the fact that he has already broken three, his goal seems closer than ever.

    McCargo started running when he was younger, and after joining football in seventh grade, he realized he might have some potential using his speed in a competitive setting. In high school, he noticed he was faster than most of his teammates and opponents on the field, so he decided to join the track and field teams.

    “In football, I was always the fastest, so I just figured I’d do track to try to break some records,” McCargo said.

    After a brief hiatus due to COVID-19, he officially joined track his junior year. McCargo’s junior year was successful, but he ended up missing states by a slim margin, ultimately ending his season. Coach Kami Reinhard, the track and field coach, believes this loss has made McCargo into the record-breaking runner he is.

    “Last season, he missed states by 0.04 seconds,” Reinhard said.

    She highlighted how McCargo turned that obstacle into a reason to keep persevering.

    “Instead of getting disappointed, he turned it into, ‘okay we were that close. I’m gonna work harder,’” Reinhard said.

    Now, in the midst of his indoor track season, his tenacity has already led McCargo to become one of the fastest athletes at EHS. Along with his determination and hours of off-season work, including weight training along with speed and agility practice, McCargo broke his first school record at the Ocean Breeze Holiday Festival in late December. McCargo along with athletes Blaise Verrastro, Michael Milot, and Lane Bassett, ran the 4×200-meter in 1:36.60, beating the previous record holders by 0.16 seconds.

    Since McCargo usually focuses on shorter distances, he realized he had to focus on his stamina, something he doesn’t usually have to practice.

    “With the 4×200 [meter], it was a further race; so when preparing for that I worked on my endurance and keeping my form strong throughout the race even if I get tired,” McCargo said.

    He also praises Verrastro, who ran the first leg of the race.

    “Blaise, our first leg, had a strong start and luckily we were able to just feed off of that and break the record,” McCargo said.

    Reinhard also lists their win as one of her favorite memories of McCargo, partly because he hadn’t ever run the 4×200-meters in relay before.

    “Originally, he thought the 4×200 [meter] was so long. So the very first time he runs it in the relay, they get the record,” Reinhard said.

    She emphasizes again what an accomplishment it is and how his perseverance led him and his teammates to the record.

    “I mean that’s pretty impressive. Because again, it’s just showing that he didn’t let that thing in his head stop him from achieving the goal of the team.”

    McCargo’s second record-breaking run was a few weeks later at the Collegeville High School Invitational, where he was set to run the 55-meter event, a long-awaited race that he knew he could break the record in. Going in, McCargo’s personal record for the 55-meter race was 7.0 seconds, a time he ran just a week before. The school record at the time was 6.98 seconds, just 0.02 seconds lower.

    “I had to get like 0.02 seconds lower. Immediately, I knew it was breakable,” McCargo said after he ran his seven-second time.

    McCargo also mentioned a smaller detail that helped motivate him to finally defeat the previous record.

    “Prior to the race, I looked up the record and I had it screenshotted on my phone. Once again, I just knew it was beatable after that,” McCargo said.

    After the race was over and the times displayed on the screen, McCargo realized he had run a 6.88, beating the school record by 0.10 seconds and garnering his second school record.

    His third record came a few weeks later, at the Franklin and Marshall Invitational in Lancaster. It was a 60-meter race, only slightly longer than the record he had beaten a few weeks prior. The record was set at 7.45 seconds, a time that had been unbeaten for three years. Once again, McCargo knew he could beat it before the race had even started, and worked even harder the week before to make sure it would happen.

    “I knew that I could break it so I was pretty focused on breaking it the whole week of the meet. I really worked on my start along with maintaining my top speed and making sure I leaned through the finish line because that could be the winning or losing factor in a race,” McCargo said.

    There, McCargo ran a 7.33-second run, beating the Emmaus record by 0.12 seconds. Reinhard, who was at the meet, described a sense of elation from McCargo after he realized he broke his third record and came one step closer to achieving his goal.

    “After his race, we were waiting and waiting but his results weren’t coming up, and then all of a sudden it came up and he was just so excited, and to watch that moment was exciting. I mean, that’s what keeps driving him, he just keeps getting better and better,” Reinhard said.

    While McCargo has much to be proud of on the track, Reinhard and other teammates have seen McCargo’s inspiring personality outside of races, too.

    “Even though Donavan has achieved success very fast, he remains humble. He’s driven, goal-oriented. That kind of athlete you want on your team,” Reinhard said.

    His addition to the team has helped the team gain involvement within the school population.

    “His persona has actually really helped to grow our boys’ sprints program,” Reinhard said.

    Though his time on the EHS track and field team has been nothing less than exciting, McCargo has committed to play football at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Even though he won’t be sprinting competitively, the Crimson Hawks are landing a multi-faceted wide receiver.

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    About the Contributor
    Kate Smith, Deputy Sports Editor
    Kate Smith is a senior and this is her first year on The Stinger as a deputy sports editor. She plays on the girls tennis team and is also involved in Earth Watch, Key Club, NHS, and the Hornet Ambassadors. Outside of school, she likes to spend time with family and friends, travel, and listen to music.

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