This story originally appeared in the Holiday issue of ESPNHS magazine’s Greater D.C. edition.
Disappointment isn’t a feeling Potomac (Md.) senior Ronald Darby has experienced too often.
On the football field, the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder is a standout running back/cornerback/return man for the Wolverines and is a nightmare to handle in the open field.
“When he’s on his game, he’s unstoppable,” says Potomac football coach Ronnie Crump.
Darby is rated the nation’s No. 69 recruit in the ESPNU 150 and has committed to Notre Dame, where he plans to play football and run track.
Also an elite sprinter, Darby snagged Maryland Class 3A state outdoor crowns last spring in the 100 and 200 and on the 4x100 and 4x200 relays and was named the Gatorade State Track & Field Athlete of the Year. In July, he led the Team USA medley relay to a gold medal and a World Youth record (1:49.47) at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille, France.
“Ronald is one of the most talented athletes that I’ve ever coached,” says Potomac track coach Stan Mullins, who’s coached track for more than 40 years.
But for all he’s accomplished, Darby has yet to experience success in indoor track at the state level. Last year, he came close, clocking a 6.37 in the 55 prelims at the state meet to tie the Class 3A record. Darby aimed for the overall state mark of 6.21 in the finals, but his false start disqualified him from the race.
“I had a lot of pressure on me to break the record,” says Darby. “This year, I’m not going to even worry about it. I’m just running to win.”
Darby’s setback at state motivated him at New Balance Indoor Nationals, where he recorded the nation’s top indoor mark last year in winning the 200 (21.24). Now he’s hoping to add to his extensive list of accomplishments by winning that elusive indoor state crown.
Jon Mahoney is a senior editor for ESPNHS Magazine and ESPNHS.com. Email him at Jon.Mahoney@espn.com.