When his days running track are over, Isaiah McBride of L.D. Bell knows exactly what he wants to do.
“I want to be an architect,” he said. “I want to branch out and start my own company building houses.
“Ever since I was little, I’ve been fascinated by how houses are designed. I’ll see one and wonder ‘how did they do that?’”
Kind of like how some people wonder after watching him on the track.
McBride plans to attend the University of Texas at Arlington on a track scholarship and study architecture. In the meantime, he has already constructed quite a track career at L.D. Bell.
Even as a little boy, McBride figured his future in athletics would include running. Only he envisioned it would be carrying a football. In fact, he didn’t take up track until right before entering high school.
“I started running in the summer after my eighth grade. I was 14,” McBride said. “My junior high coach encouraged me to run summer track, so he introduced me to a summer club coach, and that’s how it started.”
McBride joined the varsity track team at Bell that next season and his success has been growing ever since. This season he qualified for the Class 6A area meet in five events, capturing a gold medal in district as part of the 4x100-meter relay, along with silver medals in the 100, long jump and 4x200 relay, and taking fourth in the triple jump. McBride also qualified for regionals on both relays (third in each at area), the long jump (fourth) and the 100 (second). He did not compete in the triple jump at area.
McBride qualified for area competition in nine events over his junior and senior seasons. Last season the 4x200 relay advanced to regional competition and set a school record (1:27.5), and McBride was also on a 4x200 relay that reached regionals as a freshman.
This season’s 4x100 relay set a school record of 41.98 seconds in winning district and followed with a 41.44 at area.
“We started the season running over 43 (seconds), and now look where we are,” he said before the area meet.
Southlake Carroll came into district with the best 400 relay time in the district (41.70), but there is more to relays than running fast, which the Dragons learned. That, McBride said, is one of the reasons they are his favorite part of competing.
“You have to get the baton off at the right time. If a handoff is bad, the whole race is bad,” he said. “It’s pretty much precision.”
But there’s an even bigger reason he loves relays most, McBride said.
“I love the relays so much because you’re part of a team out there on the track,” he said. “Winning individually is exciting, but there is such a special feeling that goes with knowing you worked together to come out on top. If you win, you together, not as an individual.”
And McBride is all about team, as proven by his competing in the triple jump at district, said Bell coach Gerald Smith.
“That just shows you the kind of kid he is,” said Smith. “The team needed the points and he just went and got them.”
McBride, who began playing football at the peewee level in elementary school, continued to play football for his first two years of high school at the subvarsity level. Then, before his junior year he made a life-changing decision.
He gave up football to focus entirely on track.
“I thought football would be my future. Living in Texas, that’s something you’ve just got to try,” he said. “They were going to put me on varsity my junior year, and I figured it was time to make a decision about what was best for my future and what I loved more.
“I spent a couple months thinking about it and asking myself should I do it. I’d played football for a long time, but inside I knew what I needed to do.”
It was clearly the right decision. He received a scholarship to run track at the UTA, site of the 6A Region I Meet May 1-2.
And while he was thrilled about competing for UTA next season, he’d rather have beeen hitting the road to Lubbock as in the past for regionals, McBride said .
“I love UTA and am excited about being there for four years, but I liked going to Lubbock, staying in a hotel, it was a bonding experience,” he said.
When he first arrived on the varsity, McBride admits it was more than a little imtimidating. He was a freshman competing against juniors and seniors.
“I was running against grown men, basically,” he said. “Back then they were towering over me. I was a scrawny little kid. But that really helped me grow to where I am now.”
He developed a determination to not only compete on the varsity, but to be great. Mentality, in fact, is a giant part of being successful in track, McBride said.
“When you’re tired at the end of the day, it often comes down to who can push themselves one more time,” he said. “If you don’t have your mind right, it can mess you and your team up.”
Smith believes because of that hard work ethic, McBride will also have success at UTA.
“I think he’ll thrive in that environment,” said Smith. “He’s all about track. You put him in a place that’s also all about track and he’ll soak it all up. He’ll do the work necessary to be great.”