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Track & field: Sprint sweep lands Erie’s McClanahan boys Athlete of the Year honor

A winner of three individual state titles, Erie's Kevin McClanahan has been named the boys track and field Athlete of the Year
Matthew Jonas / Longmont Times-Call
A winner of three individual state titles, Erie’s Kevin McClanahan has been named the boys track and field Athlete of the Year

ERIE — He might not have reached superhero status just yet, but Erie High School’s Kevin McClanahan does have an alias.

It’s “Kevin.”

McClanahan shares the exact same name with his father Kevin Sean McClanahan, so he goes about his business as Sean. Everyone, his friends and family, everyone, calls him Sean. But in Colorado high school sports, each athlete must compete under his legal name.

Since he was Kevin when he donned the Tigers uniform to set a new state meet record in the 400-meter dash, Kevin McClanahan, and not Sean, is the boys track and field Athlete of the Year.

“My friends call it my secret identity,” McClanahan said. “When my spikes are on, I’m Kevin. I only go by Kevin on the track so it’s kind of a different thing. Sometimes it takes me a little while to remember that I go by Kevin now.”

At the 2014 state track and field championships, McClanahan won the 4A boys 400-meter dash title in 46.78 seconds. In doing so, he broke the previous state meet record of 46.93 set by Widefield’s Boris Berian in 2011.

In just his second year running competitive track at Erie, McClanahan swept all three sprints. He won the 100-meter dash in 10.67 seconds and won the 200-meter dash in 21.33 seconds.

Also anchoring the 400-meter relay team that placed eighth, McClanahan scored 30.5 of the fourth-place Tigers boys’ 48 team points.

Turning heads left and right, McClanahan said he his proud of how far he has come since placing sixth in the 200 and ninth in the 100 his junior year. The 400-meter record, in particular, opened many new doors for McClanahan, who was unsigned when he ran at the 2014 state championships on May 15-17.

“That definitely woke up a few colleges,” McClanahan said. “It’s been going really well. It’s a lot of fun to get recruited by colleges and feel like people really want you. Since I’m only two years in, to have college head coaches’ phone numbers in my phone is pretty cool.”

McClanahan said he has narrowed his college search, which began anew in May with his record-setting sweep, down to Weber State, the University of Kentucky and Texas Christian University. Because he is a late recruit, McClanahan said he will declare is college intention in the near future and is excited about his potential at the next level, wherever he ends up.

“They all tell me that if I can run the times I’m running now, as sloppy a runner as I am, that if I become a more functional runner I could get much faster,” McClanahan said.

Tigers head coach Scott Leiding will retire this year after 25 years of coaching in the St. Vrain School District. For his final season, Leiding said it was a great send-off to have a kid with special talent who didn’t over-think things and just worked hard.

“What stuck out most for me was that he was willing to do whatever we asked,” the veteran coach said. “A lot of good kids have a lot of people telling them what to do. He handled the ‘All of a sudden I’m really good’ thing well. He was good last year but he took it to a whole other level as a senior and he’s handled it great. He’s just a great kid and I’m happy to see him get these things because he’s worked hard and he deserves it.”

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