Joe Davidson

Del Oro state champion runs second-fastest time in U.S. for high school girls

Del Oro senior Cathilyn McIntosh won the 800 meters championship on Saturday at the CIF State Track and Field finals at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis.
Del Oro senior Cathilyn McIntosh won the 800 meters championship on Saturday at the CIF State Track and Field finals at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis. jdavidson@sacbee.com

Cathilyn McIntosh is a world traveler.

She's been to Paris, and she has "hopped around" England, where her father, Stephen lives.

So imagine her glee with her out-of-world experience as the sun set at Veteran's Memorial Stadium on Saturday night in her final race in Del Oro High School colors.

After placing second in the 800 meters as a sophomore and then again as a junior, McIntosh settled a personal score at the same venue, winning the two-lap event in the 100th CIF State championships in 2 minutes, 5.22 seconds.

McIntosh pulled away at 600 meters and finished well ahead of second-place finisher Malina Yago of Marymount (2:08.51).

It's the second fastest time in the country this season and the third fastest in state-meet history since girls started competing in 1974. And Saturday's effort was the fastest time for any girl in the history of Northern California competition, just ahead of Nicole Teter who in 1991 ran 2:05.61 for West Valley High of Cottonwood.

McIntosh also became just the third area girl to win a CIF State race shorter than the 1,600, joining Nia Dorner of Cordova in the 400 in 2013 and Lindsay Hyatt of Placer, who won four titles in the 800 from 1996-99.

All of this from a Del Oro cruiser who got off to a dreadfully slow start this season with injury and illness. She said she felt as if she was running from behind much of the season, then caught her wind, and then obliterated the field down the stretch of the campaign.

"It feels super good to win," McIntosh said with a grin, still catching her breath. "I am just so excited. I missed a lot of the early season but I'm glad to be here."

McIntosh said she's glad to be running at all. She said she was born with some underdeveloped muscles on her left side. Doctors suggested to her parents that she get into sports, and she did, including soccer.

It wasn't until middle school at Loomis Basin Charter that a physical education teacher named Dustin Fee noticed her tenacity and energy. He became her Del Oro coach, and a career was born.

McIntosh qualified for a state event 10 times in her four seasons at Del Oro, including cross country and snowboarding. She is headed to Georgetown to run on scholarship. First, she will travel to Vietnam, "just for the experience," she said.

"She's a workhorse," Fee said of her star. "She used to love to compete against the boys in PE, and tonight was a long time coming. We kept her out of big races earlier to get her ready and knew it'd pay off in the end."

Fee said McIntosh is "like family to me." So much so that he presented her with a gift before the postseason started last month. It was a book titled "What do you do with a chance?"

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