Much like record albums, major league baseball doubleheaders and 10 cent cheeseburgers, Ethan Macoubrie is a throwback.
“You don’t see many high school athletes like Ethan Macoubrie,” Grain Valley track and field coach Marc Cleveland said with a touch of reverence in his voice. “He’s old school.”
Macoubrie, a member of The Examiner’s All-Area football and basketball teams, is now starring in track as he jumped 6 feet, 6 inches to win Saturday’s Class 4 Sectional 4 high jump at rain-swept Odessa High School and then set a personal-best and school record with a throw of 163 feet, 3 inches in the javelin.
Macoubrie, who has earned four letters in track and three each in basketball and football, is the school record holder in the high jump (6-10) and the javelin (163-3).
“He loves competing and we love having him on the track team,” Cleveland said. “This is how much I know about the javelin – I threw it once in an AAU meet when I was 17.
“So I went to clinics and watched YouTube videos and helped him some, but he is just a natural. He came to track a little bit late because of basketball, and he’s throwing 90 feet, then 130 feet and now 163 feet.
“Believe me, that’s all him – nothing to do with my coaching.”
Although Macoubrie went through a brief midseason slump, and his coach noticed a slight flaw in his release.
“He was afraid he would scratch,” Cleveland said, “so he was approaching the line and tucking his foot, instead of pushing off and going forward – like a pitcher off the mound. Once we worked on that, he’s been pretty amazing.”
Eagles jumping coach Everett Sheppard also praises the natural ability of Macoubrie, who will play football and possibly compete in track at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.
“He’s a natural, plain and simple,” Sheppard said as he prepared the jumping pit for a Tuesday afternoon practice session. “He’s an old school athlete who works so hard. This week, we’re just trying to fine tune a few things so he has the psyche to get that edge you need to compete at state.”
While Cleveland and Sheppard talk about Macoubrie, the lanky senior is fine-tuning his skills with the javelin, throwing off the track to the grassy field south of the track complex.
“We’re throwing off a track at state, so I want to work on that and get comfortable,” Macoubrie said. “I’m really excited about state this year. I’ve been the past two years (in the high jump) but never came close to getting a medal.
“This year, I’m going to see if I can get a medal. That would be a great way to end my senior year.”
Macoubrie said he has taken a more relaxed approach to his final track season.
“It’s my last year and I didn’t want to stress out, so I came in to the season relaxed and it’s really paid off,” Macoubrie said. “And I’ve learned more and gotten more comfortable jumping the past two years and I’m having a lot of fun with the javelin.
“Our javelin thrower graduated, and Coach Cleve asked if I wanted to try, and I said, ‘Sure, why not?’ And it’s been great. I never thought I’d have this type of success.”
When asked about the process of competing in three sports and also shining in the classroom, Macoubrie grinned.
“I get bored easily and I like to compete, in sports and in the classroom,” he said. “I can’t even imagine what the past four years would have been like without football, basketball and track.
“And my coaches are calling the coaches at Missouri Western to talk about the possibility of me competing on the Missouri Western track team. Not sure if that’s going to happen, but if it does, it would be pretty cool.”