For the Saints, it’s a world gone McGee
Meagan McGee graduated from Vail Christian in 2002 as a valedictorian.
Senior John McGee graduates later this month as co-valedictorian with classmate Kyle Cureau.
Molly McGee? Oh, she just has a 4.0 in her freshman year at Vail Christian.
In athletics, again it is a case of, “Anything you can do, I an do better.” Meagan still holds the school’s 100-meter hurdles mark. John has been to the state playoffs in football, Nordic skiing, swimming and is bidding to go in track at regionals this weekend.
Molly? All she’s done is go to state in cross country, Nordic and track.
“Obviously, they’ve been blessed with some wonderful genes in a lot of different areas not just athletics, but academics,” Saints track coach Bob Isbell said. “They work so hard. They’re very dedicated and disciplined. You just can say enough good things about what they do.”
The McGees, through a combination of God-given talent and work ethic, seem to be on a roll these days. And in the process, they’re setting a family tradition at Vail Christian.
“It’s great. You couldn’t ask for more. Meagan definitely set a precedent, set some goals for me,” John said. “It’s a tough thing to live up to.
“For Molly, doing what she’s been doing as a freshman, she’s going to have a heck of another three years to go. I’m worried my athletic records are going to fall to my little sister,” John added with a laugh.
Closing a tremendous career
John McGee really doesn’t need to worry. The senior has done just about everything imaginable. He was a key part of the Saints football team’s emergence, lettering all four seasons. As the Saints were winning their first Central League title last fall, putting up a school-best 9-1 record and making the state quarterfinals, McGee pretty much played every snap.
“Football was incredible. That’s something I’ll always remember,” John said. “That’s an experience I’ll never be able to rematch – the camaraderie of the team, the victory. We saw it coming for four years. We saw that’s where we were going to be. When it came and we reached our goals and surpassed them, it was great.”
Winter brought a little free time, so why not try Nordic? John represented Battle Mountain at last year’s state meet up at Steamboat.
Last spring, McGee took a break from track and went over the pass to swim with Summit High School. His 400-meter freestyle team finished 13th in the state.
“It’s incredible,” Isbell said. “Ask him what he does in the mornings. For four years, he’s got up and did swimming, or else he was running. He was doing that and he was still working out for football or Nordic or track. He’s been putting a lot of miles in the morning The dedication and the discipline it takes just to do that? It’s incredible.”
This spring, John is going for his fourth state berth, this one in track. His best bet is likely in the 800, but he’ll also be competing in the mile and two mile.
If there is a challenge in John’s life, it’s balancing everything. His academic specialty is science. He’s going to the Colorado School of Mines to study engineering and physics. But, when you ask him what he likes to study, the list just goes on and on – math, history, reading and writing.
“The time is always the issue,” John said. “Trying to find a balance between athletics and academics … you can only do 100 percent for both of them.”
Beginning a tremendous career
While John is graduating, Molly is just starting. She’s had one of the most amazing athletic freshman years in recent history. In doing so, she’s surprised herself and just about everybody in Eagle County – except for Isbell.
“I’m really not surprised because I knew she was talented,” Isbell said. “She’s a great competitor. When the chips are down, she competes extremely well. The best time she’s run this year in our 4-by-4 relay was in the biggest competition in 5A (at Eaglecrest) when we let her out of the blocks. She’s running with all the girls from 5A. She loves that competition and seems to thrive on it.”
That became abundantly clear this fall. Coming from 1A Vail Christian, she went out the 4A Battle Mountain cross country team.
“I’d heard of it from some family friends. I just showed up to practice one day and tried it out,” Molly said. ” It’s actually really fun. Everybody’s really accepting, and you just meet a lot of new friends.”
Molly made the 4A state meet and finished 50th, the highest placing by a Huskies runner since the school moved up to 4A from 3A.
When the snow fell, she clicked on the Nordic skis and joined her brother at state. This spring, she’s made it a hat trick of state berths. She runs on the mile relay team, which has prequalified for state. This weekend at regionals, she will also be trying to qualify in the 400 and 800 relay, as well as in the open mile.
With a freshman year like this, one can only feel that the sky’s the limit for Molly.
“I just want to cut some of my times,” she said. “I’ll just see what God has planned for me.”
However it turns out, it’s a safe bet that the McGee tradition will continue at Vail Christian.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.