|January 19, 2012
Donovan McDonald setting his sights on Australia
By B.L. Azure
Arlee High School sophomore cross-country runner will be going cross-Pacific Ocean to Australia in June to compete Down Under against runners — not kangaroos — from throughout the world. He has and will be holding fundraising activities until then. (B.L. Azure photo)
ARLEE — Donovan McDonald, a 16-year-old sophomore at Arlee High School has been selected to participate in an international cross-country competitive race this June in Australia. He will be among 300 young American runners that will be among 6,000 runners from throughout the world. It is an opportunity that he can’t pass up - it is also an opportunity that costs quite a large sum of money. Consequently the young runner and his extended family have been and will be conducting several fund raising activities for the late June trip. He will be accompanied on his Australia sojourn with an uncle who lives in Washington.
“I look forward to traveling to Australia and running against the other kids that will be participating in the Down Under Cross Country Invitational,” McDonald said. “I am also looking forward to the experience of exploring a new country.”
McDonald is an all-around athlete at AHS who competes in cross-country, track, wrestling and football. He said each sport he is involved in helps him in the others. Wrestling tones muscles and enhances endurance. He said he expends as much energy in one wrestling match as a person does in a whole football or basketball game.
“Wrestling teaches me discipline, endurance and self-control,” he said. “It helps me set a pace for myself that I use in cross-country. Pacing, I think, is the most important part of running cross-country.”
McDonald said he came into running by happenstance. He decided to participate in cross-country in order to get into better physical shape for the other sports he participates in. In fact he only ran in two cross-country races prior to participating in the Montana state cross-country championships this past fall. He placed 11th in the Class C championships and that resulted in the invite to the Down Under Cross Country Invitational.
“It turns out that I did really well at state for only running three cross-country races. That was a surprise. I really didn’t think I would do that well with so little competitive experience,” McDonald said, adding that the experience has lit a fire in him. “My goal now is to train hard and take first place next season.”
He had some inkling that he could run long distance after competing in the distance races and the long relay as a freshman in track.
“I have always been an active, really active since I was a young kid so it was a pretty smooth transfer into organized sports,” McDonald said, adding that his favorite sports are football and wrestling. He competes in the 135-pound weight class in wrestling. “I want to continue to work on developing my muscle mass, especially for football.”
The young runner hopes that continued training and competition in track and cross-country would translate into post high school educational opportunities.
“I am going to try and turn this into scholarship opportunities for college in track or cross-country,” he said. “If that don’t work out I hope to be good enough to be able to walk on with some college program. I will be training a lot more to make sure I am good enough to be considered for a scholarship.”
Besides playing high school sports, McDonald said he likes to hunt.
He credited his mother, June Rae, his uncle and his coaches for helping him recognize his abilities and providing the encouragement to take advantage of them.
“I want to thank my mom for believing in me and sticking by me. My uncle was a runner and he recognized my abilities,” he said. “And my coaches helped me develop my physical abilities and the mental approach needed for long distance running.” McDonald needs to raise $4,800 for the trip and several fundraising activities are on tap. They must raise half of the trip cost by March 15 and the remainder by June 15.
They will be selling 50/50 tickets with the drawing on Jan. 26. Those tickets may be purchased from Dan Trahan at Tribal Forestry, Clara Charlo at Tribal Credit, Ruby Vanderburg at SKHA, Loushie Charlo at the People’s Center, Stephanie Gillin at CSKT Wildlife, and June Rae McDonald at Forestry.
There will be a Sweet Heart dance Feb. 11 in Arlee with a $3 admission charge. There will also be a live auction/spaghetti feed in the Jocko Valley in the near future.
Change jars are placed at Pigasus Bar, Stockman’s Bar, Rick’s Kustom Kut and the Hangin’ Art Gallery in Arlee, and at Gray Wolf Peak Casino in Evaro.
A basketball tournament and an auction are in the works also.
For more information, contact: June Rae McDonald at 890-5785 or 676-3755, ext. 6021; or Ruby Vanderburg at 726-3286 or 675-4491, ext. 1516.