By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, Staff Photographer | Published January 7, 2010
After a one-hour delay and 17 inches of snow on the ground, Ty (Raymond) McCormack completed the 5-kilometer course in 16:07 to take the gold medal at the 2009 USA Track and Field (USATF) Junior Olympics National Cross Country Championships in Reno, Nev., Dec. 12, becoming the USATF Region 3 Young Men’s Champion.
McCormack said, “The experience was truly once in a lifetime. It was great to get to compete against the top talent in the nation, and the conditions only made the race that much more fun. To win was an amazing feat, and it felt as if I had accomplished something not only for myself, but also for God.”
McCormack is a member of St. Michael Church, Gainesville, and a senior at North Hall High School. In his final season of high school competition, McCormack helped lead his school’s cross country team to the Hall County and region championship titles, and he had a fourth-place finish at the state high school cross country championships.
In his second season of cross country competition for Gainesville’s Lanier Running Club, McCormack led Lanier’s Young Men’s Team to a USATF Region 3 Junior Olympic title in Spartanburg, S.C., with a first-place finish Nov. 21.
Another late 2009 accomplishment included a 13th-place finish at the Nov. 28 Foot Locker South Regional Cross Country Championships in Charlotte, N.C., where he had a personal best time of 15:05.
When asked if he does anything special from a faith or spiritual perspective the day before or the day of a running event, McCormack said, “On nights before I usually say a prayer that the Lord will bless me and give me strength. Right before a race when everyone is running to warm up, I always go about 100 yards away from the start line to kneel and pray to God. I tell God that no matter what happens all the glory goes to him, and I know that his will be done. When they fire the gun, I make a sign of the cross and tell the Lord that this race is for him.”
The 17-year-old McCormack holds a 4.5 GPA and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
He is being recruited for cross country and track by Auburn University, Clemson University, the University of Florida, and the University of North Carolina. He is the oldest of Thad and Kelly McCormack’s four children.
Between now and his college years, McCormack said he would like to become much stronger spiritually, academically and athletically. He said, “In college I plan on maintaining a strong relationship with God. I would one day like to compete in the Olympics or other professional races, but if the Lord has other plans for me I will follow them wholeheartedly.”