Cathedral sprinter takes home state crown in 1600 meter run

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 22, 2017

When Cathedral High School’s Jalen McCoy was a child and chose to start running, he was following in the footsteps of many of his family members.

Perhaps even more influential than the legacy of those before him, however, was the inspiration he received from one particular speedy superhero.

“I used to watch The Flash and see him like an idol. I used to want to be just like him,” McCoy said.

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Nowadays the junior mid-distance runner spends less time watching The Flash and more time emulating him.

On May 6 at the MAIS AAA State Meet at Jackson Prep, McCoy earned his first individual championship by placing first in the 1600 meter run with a time of 4:44.58. He also took second place in the 800 meters, running it in 2:04.14.

“It meant a lot to me because I really work had for it,” McCoy said. “I really wanted to break the (state) record in the 800, and it didn’t happen, but I’m still happy I was able to win an individual race. It’s better than nothing for me.”

Along with the characteristic swiftness of his role model, McCoy has the name to go with it.

“I help out at the day care at school, and they saw me run. Some little kids started calling me ‘Kid Flash,’” he said. “When I heard that for the first time, I had a big smile across my face. I made sure everyone knew (the name).”

McCoy also runs the first leg of the 4×400 and 4×800 meter relays, both which Cathedral finished in third at the state meet.

Through all of his practice, McCoy keeps himself grounded by always wearing a necklace with a small charm in the shape of a lightning bolt, and Green Wave coach Tommy Smith said the gesture is simply a continuation of his devotion to the sport.

“There is no doubt that Jalen enjoys the things that go with success,” Smith said. “He definitely realizes the investment, and he’s recognized by his peers and other coaches. Jalen has talent. There is no doubt, but his talent has become more refined through him learning to be a better tactical runner. When you combine good tactile sense and depth in your fitness, it’s a pretty deadly weapon.”

Moving forward into his final campaign, McCoy said while he is eager, he is also a bit nervous for high school to end.

“I have a lot of excitement, but also fear,” he said. “It will be my last year, and I don’t want to leave.”

Despite the concerns, McCoy said he will never stop believing in The Flash.

“I remember he used to always joke and say that he could beat Superman,” he said. “I would have really liked to see that race.”