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Horses to hurdles: North Hall grad Gracie McBride set to run track at Davidson after setting multiple school records for the Trojans
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North Hall's Gracie McBride leads the 100 meter hurdles at Cherokee Bluff High School during the Hall County Championship on Friday, March 29, 2019. - photo by Austin Steele

Gracie McBride didn’t compete in track and field until the eighth grade, but her experience with hurdles goes back much further than that. 

McBride showed horses in equestrian events from a young age, doing her sprinting and leaping from horseback rather than under her own power. But sometimes, riding alone wasn’t enough for her to expend all her energy.

“After each practice, I would go out to the ring and just run and jump over the horse jumps as fast as I could,” she said. “People were like ‘Oh, you should try hurdling.’ That’s where I got the idea.”

Years later, that idea has paid off for the recent North Hall grad. 

McBride leaves the Trojans as the school record holder in both the 100 meter hurdles and the triple jump. She was a runner up in both events at the Class 3A state meet, and in the fall will continue competing in them for the Davidson track and field team. 

The sport has become a source of confidence for McBride, who described herself as “really, really shy” as a child.

“It was very helpful to me to feel like I kind of had something going for me,” she said. “It helped me in a lot of other areas in my life in a way that made me see that I can kind of step up my game and be better at things.”

McBride knew she had a true talent for the sport during her junior year when college coaches started reaching out to her with opportunities to run and jump at the next level. Most of the recruiting mail came from smaller schools to start, but McBride felt confident that her best times and distances were still ahead of her. 

If colleges were already interested then, she figured, they would be lining up to sign her once she posted the results she knew she was capable of. It didn’t take long for the belief to grow into fruition. Over the summer of her junior year, Division I Davidson started showing interest.

“That was kind of the tipping point that made me realize I can do it,” she said.

McBride said that once the Wildcats coaches got in touch with her, they stayed in contact, always ready to answer any recruiting questions she may have. The level of communication Davidson kept up impressed McBride.

When a coach from the school called her the day before her official visit, just to make sure she was prepared for it, McBride knew she had found the right program. She officially signed with the school on February 15 of this year.

“It was something that I’ve never felt before,” she said of her signing day. “I felt really like my hard work had definitely paid off. It was really special to me.”

McBride leaves for college as one of North Hall’s most decorated track stars. The school records she set in both hurdles and triple jump speak for themselves in terms of the legacy she leaves behind. 

And while McBride said she hoped those records would stand for “a long time,” the mark she made on North Hall athletics is more than times and distances. Rather, McBride prefers to be remembered for her reputation of hustle and effort, qualities she plans on bringing into her collegiate career and beyond.

“I think I definitely left a legacy as someone who worked hard,” she said. “That’s how my teammates knew me. They always said they appreciated that, and me being there for them as a teammate. I think that legacy is definitely more important than the numbers on the board.”

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