Village News Reporter
Each year the San Diego High School Sports Association honors a male athlete and a female athlete from each CIF San Diego Section member as a Senior Student-Athlete. The award is given to seniors based on athletic, leadership, and academic criteria. Ethan McFarland was selected as Bonsall High School's male Senior Student-Athlete for the 2021-22 school year.
"It's a privilege and honor to be named," McFarland said.
McFarland ran cross country and track for Bonsall. "He worked really hard for it. Ever since I met him, he's been an outstanding athlete, always putting in the work," said current Bonsall track and field head coach Manuel Ramirez.
"He was a leader on both teams," said Bonsall athletic director Andrea Breuninger.
Runners were selected as Bonsall's male and female Senior Student-Athlete recipients for 2019-20. Participation in cross country and track and field dwindled after the coronavirus shutdown, and McFarland noted that his ambition to revive the two sports at Bonsall High School was a factor in his award. "I'm glad that they recognized that ambition," he said.
"He had a lot of positivity and joy in what he did, and he brought that to others," Breuninger said.
Breuninger noted that McFarland's desire to succeed wasn't at the expense of his sportsmanship or respect for runners at other schools. "He was a friendly competitor to his opponents," Breuninger said.
"I'm really proud of him," Ramirez said.
The Lilac fire destroyed McFarland's home on his 14th birthday; McFarland was born in San Diego on Dec. 7, 2003, but has lived in Fallbrook or Bonsall all of his life. As a seventh-grader in 2016, McFarland joined the Sullivan cross country team and was also part of the Wildcats' cross country program when he was in eighth grade. He began his Bonsall High School student-athlete career in 2018.
As a freshman, McFarland ran cross country and track for Bonsall. During his sophomore year, he placed 10th at the 2019 Frontier Conference meet to earn all-league honors. The coronavirus outbreak ended the 2020 track and field season without McFarland being able to participate in a race, and the delay in the resumption of CIF sports shortened the 2020-21 cross country season and limited McFarland to one cross country race as a junior.
Bonsall had only two track and field athletes in 2021. McFarland ended his junior season with a fourth-place finish in the 3,200-meter run at the Frontier Conference championship meet.
"This year, we had more of a team," McFarland said.
The Legionnaires had 12 track and field participants for 2022. During the Frontier Conference meet May 5 at The O'Farrell Charter School, a time of 10:12.51 in the 3,200-meter race placed McFarland second and was a personal record. McFarland also anchored Bonsall's 4x100 relay team which finished fifth at the league meet.
"He's a real team player," Breuninger said.
"He took on most of the team in leading them, in growing them to become better," Ramirez said. "I was thrilled to have him be part of the track and field team."
The 2021-22 cross country season included McFarland finishing fourth in the Frontier Conference meet to capture all-league recognition. He then finished ninth among Division V boys at the CIF San Diego Section meet, which qualified him for the state meet.
"That was my goal at the beginning," McFarland said. "I'm really glad to have had that opportunity."
Ninth place at the section meet also gave McFarland all-CIF status. He finished 95th among the 205 Division V boys at the state meet.
"We're really proud of how he represented his school at the state meet this year," Breuninger said.
"It was not a surprise that he got athlete of the year," Ramirez said.
McFarland entered his final high school semester with a cumulative 4.25 grade point average. "He excelled not only in his sports, but he did exceptionally well academically," Breuninger said. "Ethan had an amazing Bonsall career."
Palomar College has a Fallbrook campus, so McFarland may take classes there and take other classes online. Palomar's athletic program is based at the San Marcos campus, and McFarland has not yet decided whether or not to run for the Comets. He is interested in an engineering career.
Breuninger hopes that McFarland will return to Bonsall as an assistant coach. "We would love to have him back if he stays in the area," she said.
McFarland noted that his schedule will determine his ability to be a Bonsall assistant coach, but that he will visit his former teammates regardless of whether he coaches with the Legionnaires.
Dinners with his teammates are McFarland's favorite Bonsall High School athletics memory. Grad Night at Six Flags Magic Mountain ranks among his favorite overall high school memories. "It's really hard to narrow down to one specific moment," he said.
His favorite classes at Bonsall High School include physical education, science, and social studies classes.