L.C. Bird’s André McLean is headed back to the state track meet hoping to improve on last year’s 13th place finish in the 3,200 meter. Last week, he overcame oppressive heat, finishing fifth in the 1,600 meter and sixth in the 3,200 meter. He will represent the Central Region in both of those races next week at Sports Backers.
André is hearing impaired, but in no way is he handicapped. “He serves as an inspiration to all of us,” said teammate Jeremy Jones. Jeremy himself is a tremendous jumper, as well as a scholar in the Bird engineering program. “André will complete this impossible workout and then go out for a long run,” he added.
Coach Beth Ligatti speaks of André with great pride. “He has talent, for sure, but his talent is surpassed by his work ethic,” she said. “He really has the heart of a runner.”
André thought of himself as a basketball player as he came through middle school. Speaking through his interpreter, André said he didn’t care much for running. “My favorite teacher, Mr. Russell, encouraged me to come out for track. I didn’t want to do it, but he kept encouraging me,” he said.
A fine student, André enjoys science and social studies. “And of course gym,” he added with a sheepish grin. He will move on to VCU in the fall, where he hopes to continue his running career.