The conditions Saturday weren’t exactly ideal for a record-setting jump.
But Green Valley’s Durrell McDonald isn’t exactly an ordinary athlete.
The Gator senior stunned the crowd at Silverado’s Skyhawk Invitational by clearing 7-feet to take home the high jump title.
“Amazing. I’ve never seen a high school kid jump 7-feet,” Green Valley coach Blaine Thompson said. “Durrell was as relaxed as I have ever seem him. He’s jumped 6-10 three times now and had four or five really good attempts at seven. Today, he was finally able to do it. Today we wanted him to start at 6-4, so he’d have a better shot at it.”
McDonald originally thought the temperature was a bit too cool.
And then the skies cleared and the mercury climbed just enough. So up went McDonald.
He cleared 6-10 on his second attempt, and suddenly all eyes were on him as the bar was pushed up to 7-0.
“It was perfect conditions,” said McDonald, who has signed to play basketball at DePaul. “I felt good.”
McDonald brushed the bar on the way by, but it held firm.
“He has a facility that most of us don’t have,” Thompson said. “The higher it goes, the more people are watching, the better he gets. Instead of getting tense, he just gets psyched.”
McDonald became only the fifth high school athlete in the country to clear 7-0 this season.
His performace wasn’t the only big effort Saturday.
Liberty’s Ashlie Blake swept the girls’ throwing events, taking the discus with an effort of 144-10 and the shot put at 48-3¾.
Blake, ranked by dyestat.com as the No. 2 shot putter in the country, had a season-best effort of 49-10 at Arcadia (Calif.) — just short of her goal to break 50 feet.
“It was a good day for it,” Blake said. “I’m healthy and I feel good.”
Blake won the discus by more than 45 feet over Calvary Chapel’s Cortney Miller, who was also second in the shot put — more than 13 feet behind Blake.
Canyon Springs’ Courtney Robinson won every event she appeared in Saturday, sweeping the hurdle races and running a leg on the Pioneers’ winning 400 and 800 relays.
Robinson won the 100-meter hurdles in 15.99 seconds, more than a full second faster than the field. Her winning time in the 300 hurdles (43.87) was more than four seconds faster than the field.
“I didn’t feel too good with my 100 hurdles,” Robinson said. “There was a strong wind coming against me.”
Palo Verde’s Marissa Suan won the 1,600 and 3,200, though she had to hold off a fierce challenge in the 1,600.
Suan and Coronado sophomore Sara Dort traded places during the last lap. Suan won in 5:19.5, and Dort followed in 5:20.89.
“Basically, I just wanted to stay calm and pace off of the (other runners),” Suan said. “I really wanted to work in the middle of the race rather than the beginning and the end … (Dort) started kicking way earlier than I did, so I realized that I had time.”
Suan led from start to finish in the 3200, winning in 11:40.5.
“We have work to do,” Palo Verde coach Robert Davis said. “But we’re where we want to be at this point in the season. Marissa has only run one other invitational. It’s a long season.”
The only double winner in the boys meet was Palo Verde senior Nahjee Matlock, who won the 100 in 11:17 and the 200 in 22.05.
The boys 1600 produced the closest finish of the day as Shadow Ridge sophomore Nicholas Oberdin nipped Clark’s Basabose Bahati by two one-hundredths of a second, posting a winning time of 4:33.96.
Bahati was not to be denied, however. The Clark senior won the 3200 by closely following his game plan.
“I wanted to run a five-minute (first) mile. It was slow so I started to pick it up,” said Bahati, who surged on his fifth lap and broke away from the pack. “I was really happy to get under 10.”
Bahati’s winning time of 9:57.30 included a 70-second final lap. The only other runner to break 10 minutes was Valley’s Alec McMillan, who finished second in 9:59.20.
Faith Lutheran and host Silverado led the team scoring.
The Crusader boys, with 87 points, outscored Canyon Springs (79) and Silverado (78).
The Silverado girls finished first with 68 points. Coronado was second with 62, and Green Valley and Palo Verde tied for third with 57 points.