Sarah Macdonald

Sara Macdonald, stands atop the podium accepting her first place award.

Courtesy Photo

For many athletes, winning state involves countless hours of hard practice, dedication and training. For Sarah Macdonald, practice is only part of the reason for her cross country and track successes.

“We ask God to give us his legs and his mind throughout the race because it is only through him that we could do anything,” said Macdonald. “I dedicate my races to him because I could not do any of this without him.”

Macdonald, a senior at Pusch Ridge Christian Academy, has run cross-country all four years of high school and track for the last three years. Her coach, Elmer Yazzie, noticed her natural talent and ability in running her freshmen year of cross country and the next year encouraged her to go out track. 

Macdonald was not convinced right away, as she had thoroughly enjoyed playing tennis the previous year.

“I didn’t want to run around in circles,” said Macdonald, referring to running around a track. “I was like, ‘I’ll try it out’ but was certain I’d go back to playing tennis the year after. But after that year of track I loved it and stuck with it.”

Macdonald’s switch to track paid off. Her junior year she beat one of the best runners in Arizona at the Sabino Distance classic to finish first. It was that race that Macdonald said was the defining moment that she knew she loved running.

“It was one of the most physically-painful moments, but also the most encouraging moment,” said Macdonald. “I never thought I had that kick at the end, but then I ended up winning. Then we went on to winning the state title for cross country that year which was really fun and one of the best things ever.”

Macdonald’s accomplishments did not stop there as she went on to win the 3,200-meter relay, and 800-meter state races in track. This year, she won state titles in the 1,600-meter run, the 3,200-meter run, and took second in the 800-meter run. In relay races, Macdonald was part of the team that placed second in the 3,200-meter relay.

“It’s cool to see how God has worked throughout all these years in my running,” said Macdonald. “My coaches are second to God, but they have helped me train and run.”

This year, Macdonald received the NIAAA Student Athlete Scholarship for Arizona and the Wendy’s High School Heisman award. 

Off the track, Macdonald excels in academics, is involved in the National Honors Society and works with a charity called Assistance League of Tucson. 

Macdonald will attend Seattle Pacific University in fall to run cross-country and track as well as pursue a degree in biology with an emphasis in pre-med.


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