KU Scholar Athlete: Isaiah McCall

IsaishMcCall WebHow Do You Get Fast? Practice, Practice, Practice
Isaiah McCall

School: STEAM Academy
GRADE: 12 Sports: Track Academics: Isaiah has a 3.2 GPA, focusing on the arts, science and engineering. He takes some of his classes at UK.
Parents: Vanessa & Jody


“How do you get to be the fastest high school hurdler in Kentucky history?” they ask. Underclassmen on the Bryan Station High track marvel at the speed of senior hurdler Isaiah McCall, a six-time State champion.

Here’s how.

In the summer when no one on the team is working out, you awaken just after dawn and head to school where the football team has begun workouts.

Alone, you head into the equipment room and haul the hurdles onto the track where you space them out yourself.

As the raging-hot sun rises in the sky, you put yourself through a rigorous set of drills and sprints. Then, still panting from the workout, you lug the hurdles back into the equipment room.

Then you do it all over again the next day. That’s how you get fast.

Genetics help, too. Isaiah’s parents each ran track in high school, but hard work trumps genes every day.

Isaiah was introduced to hurdling in the eighth grade, and he stumbled his way through his first few attempts.

“It was awkward but it gave me a challenge,” he said. “He was funny to watch,” his mother Vanessa said.

But then he learned that you don’t jump over the hurdles… you overextend your stride and glide over them.

“It’s like a dance almost,” Isaiah said. “Eight steps before the first hurdle, then three steps before each hurdle to the end.

“You have to have rhythm, but you have to do it fast.”

Which is what he has done during his high school career.

For three straight years, he has been the State champion in the 110 and 300 hurdles.

As a junior, he led Bryan Station to a third-place finish in the State meet. This year, the Defenders placed second behind Isaiah’s record-breaking performance.

He entered the meet as the State record-holder in the 300 hurdles (37.12) and then broke the State 110 hurdles record, which had stood since 1975. His time was 13.76.

He also won the 300 hurdles, placed sixth in the 100 dash and anchored the 4 x 200 relay to a second-place finish.

Isaiah competes for Bryan Station but he attends the STEAM Academy in downtown Lexington where he has focused on the arts, science and engineering.

He has a 3.3 GPA and has accepted a track scholarship to Cincinnati where he will study health science.

“He is well grounded and has a good head on his shoulders,” Vanessa said. “He is self-disciplined, self-motivated and hard-working.”

Oh, yeah. He’s also fast… very fast.