Long Beach Poly Signing Day Track & Field

Long Beach Poly’s Jade McDonald Commits to Iowa

Long Beach Poly senior track and field standout Jade McDonald has verbally committed to the University of Iowa, and she’ll continue her decorated athletic career as a Hawkeye.

“I really see myself there,” said McDonald. “I’ve been in Southern California my whole life, so it’s a good step out the door to experience life.”

McDonald is one of the top athletes in Long Beach this year and one of the top track and field athletes in the state of California. Her junior season was cut short due to the COVID-19 shutdowns in 2020 but as a sophomore in 2019 McDonald was a state finalist in three individual events, taking fourth in the long jump (19-9.75), seventh in the triple jump (39-05) and eighth in the 100 hurdles (14.5).

It’s no surprise that McDonald was in demand at Iowa, where fellow Moore League product Wilson alum Mar’yea Harris was a 10-time All-American, and where recent Poly alum Everett Steward is currently on scholarship as a middle-distance sprinter.

With McDonald’s recruitment wrapped up, her plan is to make history this year once the Jackrabbits are able to get back to competition in the Spring.

“My goal is to win a state championship in every event I enter,” she said. “Long jump, triple jump, hurdles–maybe if they throw me in a relay. I want to win.”

McDonald is part of a wave of elite athletes who’ve had the normally dream-like recruiting process turn somewhat bizarre. Instead of taking official visits all over the country, she and others have been limited to virtual walk-throughs, deprived of the ability to see facilities and meet coaches in person.

“I was a little bit hesitant, I’ve actually never been in the state of Iowa, or to the school,” said McDonald with a laugh. “But I’ve always wanted to go somewhere were it snowed, and we spent a lot of time with the coach on Zoom. I really like him as a person and he has a really positive energy.”

PODCAST: Interview & College Choice Announcement With Long Beach Poly Track & Field Star Jade McDonald

After taking a virtual tour of the facilities and watching virtual walk-throughs about student life, McDonald was comfortable pulling the trigger on her commitment. She and her family are also planning a trip to Iowa in the Spring to get the lay of the land.

In the meantime, she’ll continue hoping for a return to normalcy, and participate in club events where possible, including a jumpers’ showcase in North Texas later this month.

“I was so bummed out when last year was canceled, junior year I was really read to show everybody what I could do,” she said. “I wish I could have done my recruiting visits, that’s all everyone talks about is how fun they are–even as a freshman I was like, ‘I can’t wait to go on my visits.’ But I’m kind of at a point where it is what it is.”

A standout student, McDonald said she hasn’t had much trouble adjusting to the Zoom life. 

“I got used to it in the Spring, I was still going every day and doing all my work,” she said. “It’s just life right now.”

Long Beach Poly Track & Field Star Jade McDonald Commits To Iowa

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Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.