BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -
The City of McFarland is preparing for the national spotlight. Film crews are scheduled to move in next month to make a movie. The production may help promote tourism and boost the local economy, but it will also help inspire future athletes.
City leaders want people to visit, shop, eat and maybe even one day live in McFarland, the home of the legendary Cougars.
“The one thing that was unique and still to this date that is very unique in the City of McFarland is our cross country performers, our runners and our success,” said Mayor Manuel Cantu.
Members of the community know of the McFarland High School Track Team. Since 1987, its won nine state championships and is now the center of a new movie produced by Disney and starring Kevin Costner.
“At this point in time we’ve been talking to different potential vendors that want to come in so, the movie is only going to assist in getting the name recognized. We’re still a very small and a wonderful community,” he said.
About a year ago, McFarland changed its logo to help represent its community and while the city pays tribute to athletes from the past they are also celebrating the stars of the future.
The McFarland Middle School Track Club is making history of its own, just returning from North Carolina and winning big among other schools at the track nationals.
“Track to me is just when I have a bad day, going to track and seeing all my friends, I feel so much better because they’re cheering me up and doing a workout just feels real good,” said athlete, Brianna Valles.
“It’s really fun to just be running with my friends which to me is my second family because of how much time I spend with them,” said teammate, Devianna Salcedo.
The team is being recognized for its accomplishments by members of the city council, and also by the state assembly.
“It feels pretty good and we can’t believe so many people care about us,” said Dynaeli Diaz, 12, of the McFarland Middle School Track Club.
Coaches say the young runners are following in the city’s tradition of successful athletes. They’re also helping in the growth of their community.
“We work hard and our girls are very diligent about what they do and we take running serious here in McFarland and we kind of take it in stride to be in some of these great competitions, we just happen to strike gold,” said coach David Diaz.