Jason McGhee was a late comer to the sport of cross country, as he didn’t start running until the fall of his junior year and in his own words “wasn’t what I would call stellar. I barely, but did, make the varsity team.” His PR was 16:55 on Crystal Springs, a course just under three miles. After his season concluded he knew he liked running, but decided that he would pursue running a shorter distance. He decided in order to be good, he would pursue the coach who trained his two older sisters and had made a dramatic difference in their times. He joined ISC International, a track club coaches by Chioke Robinson in November 2009. On joining the club he was timed in the 800m and the 1600m, resulting with the times 2:10 and 5:00. Three months later in February 2010 he ran at the Simplot Games (indoor), which was his first meet, and he hit the times 1:58.15 and 4:37. Jason was on his way.
Looking back at the entire recruiting process, Jason thinks that maybe he didn’t handle it all very well. As the calls were coming in, he either didn’t respond to them or he told every coach who contacted him that he was not interested. He took the approach to contact a few coaches where he was interested, and immediately felt “very good about Cal.” He said that while all the other recruits included “many truly spectacular athletes and all of which are people anyone would love”, he felt good about the program before meeting them.
Prior to visiting Cal, Jason had all of his communications with Ann Detmer, Assistant Coach. Once he met Tony Sandoval, Head Coach and Director of Track & Field, they communicated every few days, and Jason eventually made a verbal commitment.
Jason only visited Cal once, but he knew that he wanted to go there. He didn’t make his feelings public, but he was sure. Cal was offering him a great track program and one of the best academic programs in the nation. It was one of his very best options he had, and he had fallen in love with the school. He felt it was the right fit for him, the campus was gorgeous, every student he met was nice, and the team, even after only one day, felt like family.
Of course a compelling reason to attend Cal is the great academic program, but having the opportunity to meet the team and coaches, see everything that Berkeley had to offer, he did not think twice about passing up the opportunity to attend and join the program.
PrepGold asked Jason what his best experience has been so far in running, and he answered it had to be beating Jason Coupe at the Meet of Champions in Sacramento. At the Simplot Games he saw Jason C run a 1:53 split in a relay and was amazed, having only run a 2:03 at prelims, which was a PR. To be able to beat a guy he admired so felt amazing. In looking ahead he’s not sure which meets he will be running in, but does know he will be in the Woody Wilson Classic on April 16th (he has since run this and completed the 800m in 1:56.23) and the Brutus Hamilton on April 22nd. He is competing in a variety of college meets unattached.
We asked him what his goals were for his final track season to which he responded “My goals? They are private. If you follow my progress though, I do not think you’ll be disappointed.”.