Ross McDonald vaults over obstacles (MA)

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Ross McDonald vaults over obstacles (MA)

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:55 pm ... -obstacles

Newton's McDonald vaults over obstacles

Newton South graduate Ross McDonald overcame a variety of physical setbacks in his exceptional high school career.

By Scott Souza/Daily News Staff
The Daily News Tribune
Posted Aug 23, 2010 @ 12:43 AM
The broken bones never broke Ross McDonald.

The recent Newton South graduate finished his high school career with perhaps his shining moment. His pole vault of 15-feet, 1-inch deep into the night at the All-State Championships at Westfield State College ended the meet with a stunning achievement that was worth the wait for those who hung in there for more than seven hours on the hot, steamy and thunderstorm-soaked day. For an athlete who in the past two years had overcome two broken vertebrae in his back, a bulging disc, a broken collarbone, and continued to compete while dealing with the complications of Type I Diabetes, it was a grand exit from the state stage.

But McDonald was not quite done with his high school career. Though no longer competing for South, he took advantage of his best health since his sophomore season and kept vaulting all the way to Norfolk, Va. where he earned All-American honors with a fifth-place finish at the AAU Junior Olympics on Aug. 5.

"It's easily the cherry on top of the cake," McDonald said. "It's something I always wanted to do. I know it really wasn't the high school season, but it was something I wanted to accomplish."

Now McDonald is off to the University of Southern California where he hopes to take his vaulting to the next level in the warm sunshine of Los Angeles.

"I went in December for my visit and it was 70 degrees there," he said. "We went to the beach. It was about then I realized I was looking for more than just a school where I could pole vault. I was looking to do great things in great weather."

The promise of sunshine and summer-like temperatures go hand in hand with the promise of vaulting success. Doing the event outdoors in Massachusetts can be an arduous experience. Many of South's vaults this spring were rained out and the event is often shuffled to secondary locations - or simply canceled - as part of the regular meet.

That all gave McDonald limited opportunities to compete as he waded through a brutal series of physical setbacks at South. He vaulted his personal-best of 15-3 as a sophomore, but suffered the broken vertebrae while doing the vault as a junior and could only do minimal vaulting and long jumping that spring season. However, he did manage to compete at the Dual County League Championships and won both the pole vault and long jump for the third straight year.

"I wanted to do it to help my team," said McDonald, "and I had that streak I wanted to keep alive."

McDonald was starting to feel better his senior year when he suffered another setback when he broke his collarbone while dirtbiking in the fall. He went to USC with his arm in a sling from the accident.

He recovered from that during the indoor season, but experience more back pain due to a bulging disc that was related to his vertebrae break. Finally, by the end of the spring season he felt he was getting healthy and edging toward the form his enjoyed as a sophomore.

"I had a lot of hard moments I had to get through," he said. "I am not a religious person. But in those moments there was someone telling me I had to come back and it will only get better."

It did throughout the spring as he completed his four-year DCL double in the long jump and pole vault and went on to win the All-State championship. Earlier this week, he left for California to begin the next stage of his track and field career that will include mostly vaulting and maybe a bit of long jumping on the side.

"It's finally good," he said. "It's ready to go in college. In my last two years of high school I was always lacking a little bit. I never did regain the momentum I had my sophomore year.

"Now I want to see how far I can get without being injured all the time."

While his breaks, bruises and nagging sprains are hopefully behind him, one thing McDonald will always deal with on the track is the diabetes. Although vaulting and jumping may be a bit easier as a diabetic than being a sprinter or a distance runner, his blood sugar is something that can never stray far from his mind.

"It's hard because you can't eat anything before the meet or (the blood sugar) only goes higher," he said. "The insulin doesn't work while you are competing either."

Many diabetic athletics say a key to maintaining an even sugar level is to maintain an even keel under pressure. McDonald, however, can't always bring himself to stay calm in the face of competition.

"I like to get amped up," he said, "even if it isn't good for my blood sugar."

Despite all the injuries, and the poor weather, McDonald kept striving to reach new heights at South. The hope is out at USC, even brighter days are ahead.

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Re: Ross McDonald vaults over obstacles (MA)

Unread postby bel142 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:59 pm

Ross is a good guy, he just PRed out at Reno 5.05 I think...

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