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High School Female Athlete of the Week: Sage Hill’s Sydney McCord hopes to lengthen postseason stay

Sage Hill School senior sprinter Sydney McCord is the Daily Pilot High School Female Athlete of the
Sydney McCord won three events at the San Joaquin League finals and helped Sage Hill School claim second place as a team on April 18.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photgrapher)

Three McCord siblings have passed through coach Nate Miller’s Sage Hill School track and field program, and Sydney McCord is the last of that group.

CJ, who was also the quarterback on the football team and graduated from Sage Hill in 2015, is now a senior at Yale University and still competes in the high jump, where he holds Yale’s indoor school record.

Miles, who graduated in 2017 and played football at Golden West College last fall as a cornerback, competed in the 400 meters and long jump for the Lightning.

Two years later, Sydney is now the senior leader. One difference from her older brothers is that she stays on the track, not so much in the field.


“Whenever someone hears my name, they’re always like, ‘Oh, I know your brothers,’ ” she said. “It’s been interesting to make a name for myself here, I guess.”

Sydney McCord, who transferred from Edison as a sophomore, is soft-spoken. But she also has developed into one of the best sprinters in the school’s history.

She’s been a good leader for us. She sets a great example. She just kind of quietly takes care of business.
Nate Miller, Sage Hill School coach

The team captain provided further evidence of that at the San Joaquin League finals at Claremont Webb on April 18. The Lightning finished second as a team, but McCord picked up a lot of hardware with three first-place finishes.


She won the girls’ 200 meters in a season-best 27.07 seconds and the 400 in 1:02.68. She also ran anchor on the 4x100 relay team, which broke the school record. Sophomore Grace Robinson-Dorn, junior Emily Lam, sophomore Sofia Lowe and McCord finished in 51.18 seconds, bettering the previous mark of 51.98 set by Elise Sugarman, Jenny Ascher, Maddy Abbott and Maddie Culberson in 2012.

“There’s always one person injured or out,” Miller said of the relay, which was disqualified in a pair of league cluster meets earlier this season. “We just have had a lot of trouble with the handoffs and the timing, getting it all. But everything was perfect [at league finals]. They showed us what they’re capable of, which is pretty cool. We’re currently ranked 10th in CIF Southern Section Division 4 with that mark.”

The Sage Hill 4x400 relay of freshman Megan Shean, senior Alice Warden, senior Oliva Lowe and McCord finished second in 4:25.63 at league finals, also qualifying for the Division 4 preliminaries on May 4 at Carpinteria High.

Asking McCord to do two individual events and two relays at CIF is a lot, Miller said. She may drop the 200 and focus on the 400, where she is still trying to get below a minute this season.

Either way, her presence is valuable to the team. Sage Hill is young among the girls’ sprinters, with McCord the only senior.

“She’s been a good leader for us,” Miller said. “She sets a great example. She just kind of quietly takes care of business.”

Robinson-Dorn also set the school record in the 100 at league finals, finishing in 13.04 seconds. McCord said she is proud of the sophomore, who has been her teammate in soccer the last two seasons as well. McCord has played outside back, though she said she recently retired from soccer after finishing her club season with the Slammers FC.

McCord plans to follow in CJ’s footsteps and run track at Yale. But first, she gets to close out her high school career.


McCord got under a minute in the 400 once last year, running her personal-best of 59.97 at the Academy League finals. She may need an even better effort to advance to the CIF finals for the first time in her three years at Sage Hill, Miller said.

But he knows that McCord can do it. She has shown that she can put up low times in the postseason.

“Last year I kept saying, ‘I’ve peaked, I’m not going to run any faster,’ ” McCord said. “But then I ran my PR of 59.9, and it was just a really big moment for me. This year, I haven’t reached that mark yet, but we’ll see where we’re going. I’ve never made it past prelims, so it would be cool to make it to finals this year.”

It would be a good story, and McCord knows about those. She writes for the school’s newspaper, The Bolt, which comes out once a month. Her scope is not just limited to sports.

“It kind of just depends on what they tell me to write,” said McCord, who balances her writing with a challenging course load that includes Advanced Placement Economics, Statistics and Psychology. “Sometimes I write opinion pieces, things like that. Last year I wrote a piece about the underrepresentation of minorities in film and television.”

McCord said she might pursue writing for Yale’s college newspaper, the Yale Daily News. By that point, there will be no McCords on Sage Hill’s Newport Coast campus for the first time in nearly a decade.

“It’s weird to say there’s no more McCords coming to Sage, but I think we’ve left a positive impact on a lot of the athletics here,” Sydney McCord said. “It’s good.”



Sydney McCord

Born: Jan. 1, 2001

Hometown: Huntington Beach

Height: 5 feet 6

Sport: Track and field

Year: Senior

Coach: Nate Miller

Favorite food: Quesadilla

Favorite movie: “The Help”

Favorite athletic moment: Breaking the school record in the 4x100 relay at the San Joaquin League finals this year.

Week in review: McCord won the girls’ 200 and 400 and was part of the school’s record breaking 4x100 relay, helping Sage Hill finish second at the San Joaquin League finals on April 18 at Claremont Webb.


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