Senior Spotlight: Merced High School runner leaves his mark

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- "He had probably the most growth I've ever seen in an athlete from freshman year to senior year."

A three-time cross country athlete of the year, Merced High's Cole McKain left his mark as a runner.

"Most of the athletes that I've had who have had similar success to Cole kind of came in successful right off the bat," says Merced cross county coach Timothy Hagerman.

McKain won league his sophomore year but had a breakthrough moment his junior year at the Clovis Invitational.

"He finished like fourth and he was mad," Hagerman said.

"Every race, I say I could have done better," McKain said. "That was one where I know I probably could've done better."

After that race he put in the work and at the start of his senior season, he started seeing results.

"When I actually started winning races and becoming faster and I knew I was fast, I started to get the confidence," McKain said.

"He had a good talent already but to become an elite runner, you had to be fit and you had to be smart too," Hagerman said.

For just the fourth time in school history, McKain would win the section meet.

He would follow that up with the race of his life, finishing seventh at state with a time of 15 minutes and 35 seconds, the fastest state mark in the school's history.

"I've always wanted to say that I've done something in my high school years, and so to be able to say that I have a record at my school is really cool," he said.

Earlier this year, he signed to run cross country and track next year at CSU East Bay.

"I'm happy about that," Hagerman said. "I'm happy that he can run track in college."
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