A member of the Bullard High School Class of 2018 was able to represent his now alma mater on one of the largest stages in Texas, as Will McCowin competed at the 2018 UIL Track and Field State Championships Friday and Saturday, May 11-12, at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.
“It was really a great honor to advance all the way to state in my jumping events this year,” said McCowin. “I thought of it as a great opportunity to follow in the footsteps of several former Panther athletes who had been to the State meet, such as Jake Allen and D’Juan Martin. It was nice to be able to compete as a Panther at the biggest event of the year, as well as to end my senior year on a high note.”
McCowin saw action in the boys’ triple jump competition at the Regional meet , leaping a distance of 45’-1” and claiming a third place finish, allowing him to hold the ‘wild card’, an opportunity given to the athlete with the best third place jump at the four Regional meets in Class 4A to advance and compete at State.
“Finding out that I was the ‘wild card’ was a very exciting process,” said McCowin. “I knew that I had done my best and really wanted another chance to be able to compete in triple jump. My motivation in the event was to break for Panther Charlie Moore’s record of 45’-5”; I came up a little short. It meant a lot to be able to go to State in triple jump because I first learned to do triple jump from Coach Dover way back in the day, so it was like I was able to continue that chapter by advancing to State.”
Additionally, McCowin qualified for the 2018 UIL Track and Field State Championships after securing a first place finish in the boys’ long jump contest at the Regional meet, finishing the finals with a massive jump of 24’-3 ½”, beating the competition by more than a foot in distance.
“The jump at Regionals was gave me a lot of confidence going into the State meet because I’ve been driven to make it to State,” said McCowin. “I actually got the 24’-3 ½” jump on my second attempt, and didn’t even attempt my third jump because I knew I had the jump to beat. I actually put in a lot of hard work in preparing for State; during Spring break, when a lot of students are either home or on vacation, I was up here at the track putting in the work, which apparently paid off for me.”
McCowin said preparing for the State meet in two events took a lot of time and effort, as he and several coaches worked together to improve his jumps and distances before embarking on the journey to Austin.
“We were just grinding and grinding to prepare for State,” said McCowin. “Coach Preston [Lierman] came in and we knew he could help me with long jump, but as it turned out, he was also able to help me with my triple jump. The mindset going into State was just ‘beat your last jump’. I literally just played it by ear and wanted to represent Bullard the best that I could.”
On the days McCowin competed at the State meet, he was faced with two new obstacles: having to compete in the blazing Texas sun and competing with over 20,000 people in attendance.
McCowin’s first event at the 2018 UIL Track and Field State Championships was the long jump contest Friday. After competing against some of the best jumpers in Texas, McCowin finished as the third place athlete with a jump of 23’-0 ¾”, filling in the final spot on the awards podium and taking home a bronze medal for his efforts.
“It meant a lot to stand on the medal podium my senior year,” said McCowin. “Of course, the athlete in me really wanted to win it all, but when I stood back and looked at it, I realized the few number of people that actually advance to the State meet and actually get a medal.”
In his second day of competition, McCowin stepped up to the line to compete in the triple jump contest, looking to make noise in the final event of his high school career.
After all the jumps were tallied for the triple jump event, McCowin took home seventh place overall with a leap of45’00 ½”.
“It was pretty intimidating in triple jump,” said McCowin. “On my left, I had a guy who jumped 49’00, and on my right, there was Keaontay Ingram from Carthage, who is the top running back in the state and already committed to Texas. I came into the contest in last place, and we knew realistically that I probably wouldn’t medal, but the goal was to set my own goals. I came in at last place, but was able to finish two spots ahead of that.”
With McCowin ending his senior season on a high note, he said his driving motivation in all of the extracurricular activities he has participated in has been to show others that great athletes can come from smaller schools.
“It’s definitely a lot of pride,” said McCowin. “Coming from a smaller school like Bullard, nobody thinks we’re able to compete with the larger programs. However, if you put in the hard work and determination to do the best you can do, then you’re good enough to compete with anyone.”
In addition to track and field this season, McCowin has also been active by participating on the Panther football and basketball teams, as well as the inaugural Panther soccer program, serving as one of the team’s captains.
With his high school graduation now behind him, McCowin will take advantage of an opportunity to take his athletic abilities to the next level, as he will become a member of the University of Texas at Tyler’s athletic department.
“I will be attending UT Tyler while competing in jumping events in track, as well as playing for the Patriot soccer program,” said McCowin. “Honestly, I wasn’t that confident about going to the collegiate level; however, I was fortunate enough to have certain people watch me perform well in soccer, which then spilled over into track season. It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
McCowin also credits the Panther athletic coaching staff for helping him to develop into the athlete he is today.
“There have been a lot of coaches in the Panther coaching staff that have poured into me and helped me to achieve a high level of success,” said McCowin. “One that really sticks out to me is definitely Coach [Monta] Jeffley; he’s been like another father figure to me. He’s not just a coach, but he also teaches life lessons. When I was in a rough spot, he definitely helped me out of it.”
McCowin is the son of Mindi and Glenn Davenport.