By JENELYN RUSSO     7/5/2015

It’s as if Mason Mitchell was born to run. Whether it was running away from his parents at the beach as a toddler or running as a member of his track team in middle school, Mitchell has always been fleet of foot. And it seems the skill is a family trait.

“I got my start in running through my grandfather,” says Mitchell. “I’ve always modeled after him, and everything I want to accomplish is because of him.”

ARVE Error: need id and provider


As a senior and member of Santa Margarita Catholic High School’s track team, Mitchell runs the same race his grandfather ran for the Trojans of USC, the 400 meters, in addition to the 200 meter and the 4 x 100 meter and 4 x 400 meter relays. The fact that he’s been running for most of his life has not diminished Mitchell’s passion for the sport.

“When I’m running, I’m at peace with myself. That’s what I love about it. It’s just you, your body and the track,” says the 17-year-old. “The thing that keeps me interested is always wanting to get better and pushing myself to the limits.”

The relentless pursuit of those limits is developing Mitchell into a confident leader at Santa Margarita, and much is expected of the sprinter as he heads into his final year of competition for the Eagles.

“Mason is an incredible competitor. He has a quiet confidence about him that translates very well on the track,” says Santa Margarita’s head coach of sprints and relays, Sean Zeitler. “He has set the bar for the team with regard to the times he has run, and next season, we expect him to take some of our younger sprinters under his wing so that after he graduates, the team continues to excel.”

Being a member of a team in such an individual sport as running has given Mitchell a new perspective; he says that he is “a better person overall” because of the team experience.

“At Santa Margarita, we’re a community and we always do things for each other,” says Mitchell. “In the track program, we’re such a family. I do it all for them.”

Mitchell continues his devotion to his school off the track and serves his campus as a member of Student Ambassadors, a group of Santa Margarita upperclassmen who help make the transition into the high school community a positive one for incoming freshmen.

The Coto de Caza resident would like to follow in his grandfather’s running steps and race at the collegiate level while pursuing a degree in business. He’s confident that the skills he’s learned on the track will translate into a solid career path.

“The life lesson I’ve learned from track is just being a competitor,” says Mitchell. “It doesn’t matter if you’re running, you always want to strive to become the best at what your craft is.”