By Adam Aposhian
Photos by Kurt Johnson
Logan MacKay ran away from the field Saturday to become the Utah Class 5A 800-meter champion with a time of 1:54.12, the second fastest of all classifications. The junior from Davis High School has also run the fastest time in the state this season at 1:53.09.
MacKay also took third in the 1600 meters on Friday, but the 800 is definitely his favorite event.
“Mentally I love it because you’re always in it and you can always change things so fast,” MacKay said.
Aside from pushing himself in his signature two-lap race, MacKay loves competing and training at all times of the year. He was a part of the team that took 17th at Nike Nationals for cross country in 2013, and returned there this past fall to help Davis finish fifth.
At the New Balance Nationals Indoor in March, MacKay ran on the runner-up 4xone-mile relay team and anchored the first-place 4×800-meter relay from Davis.
“Once we get to the end of one season I just look forward so much to the beginning of the next,” MacKay said. “They’re like the seasons in Utah, just long enough to wait for the next one.”
Exploring mountain trails in the summer, racing on all-terrain courses in the fall, and training despite the cold and snow of winter all are different aspects of the year MacKay enjoys, but there is something special about the spring.
“When we step out onto the outdoor track for the first time, those beginning races are so fun,” MacKay said.
And for MacKay, fun means fast. At his second outdoor meet of the year he cranked out his state-leading 1:53.09 with virtually no competition. However, despite all the excitement that Logan MacKay exudes about his life on the track, he’ll admit that running wasn’t something he always was so passionate about.
Running wasn’t MacKay’s first sport, or even his second. He played basketball, soccer, lacrosse, football and even tried to get his family to let him play hockey.
“I started track in junior high… partially to maintain my fitness for football,” MacKay said. “It was just fun to run.”
MacKay wasn’t sure if he wanted to compete in cross country, and he didn’t his freshman year, but that changed one day during his last track season in junior high.
“Coach Timothy was the first one that reached out to me,” MacKay said. “He said, ‘You should come work out with us,’ and I felt so honored… He really got me into it.”
However, MacKay had a rocky start through the cross country summer workouts, with an unfamiliar team and also the rigorous training.
“I came to the workouts and they were dang hard, like the hardest things I’ve ever done,” MacKay said. “I was almost going to drop out of cross country at the end of the summer because I didn’t feel like I had any friends. But Coach Timothy told me, ‘You’ve got to stick with it. You can do so many things, you have to stick with it.’ So I did.”
The talented runner quickly moved up to competing with the varsity squad, and was a key component of the team’s success that season. His cross country training and notorious finish translated to phenomenal track success. From there, it has only been onward and upward, and his sights are set ever higher.
“It took me until my junior year of cross country to finally realize that this is what I want to do,” MacKay said. “I want to do track, and I want to do cross country. I’ve set some [long term goals] now. Next track season I’m going for the state record, so that’s always fun.”
The 5A state record in the 800 meters is held by another Davis athlete, Brad Nye, at 1:51.89 and the overall Utah record is held by Ben Saarel of Park City at 1:51.13.
But MacKay tries to carry his team with more than just the points that he scores. He loves to support and cheer on his teammates.
He does that even beyond the confines of his own athletic competition. His support for his entire school will be on full display next year as he takes on the mantle of student body officer, as well as that of the Davis mascot, Dartman.
“I love being everyone’s number one fan and cheering so loud,” MacKay said.
Often this can be a challenge for a varsity athlete like MacKay since often he can’t afford to cheer and dance as much as he would like, as he conserves energy for his big races. But MacKay still contributes the most that he can to his team.
“Really my position is to be a leader on the team, and to work hard every single day,” MacKay said. “The rest of the team is looking up to me, and I can’t let them down.”