During Eri Macdonald’s freshman year at Punahou, her cross country and track coaches knew she had natural talent, but didn’t know she would become a top athlete so quickly. Yet, as a freshman, Macdonald was named the top female athlete in ILH track.
With her smooth stride, good arm swing and natural gait, she elevated herself above the competition, becoming a four-time state champion in the 800 meters in track and a four-time state champion in cross country. As a senior, she won state track titles in the 400, 800 and 4×400. She also was named Punahou Athlete of the Year and included in the Hawaiʻi High School Athletic Association Hall of Honor.
“She really had that ability to push through the pain barriers that a lot of high school athletes shy away from,” said Dan Tuttle ’73, her coach at Punahou. “Eri put it in another gear. She had gears that she could shift into that nobody else had at the time, and that’s what made her so dominant. Eri Macdonald was the best middle-distance runner that Punahou has ever seen, and perhaps the state has ever seen on the female side.”
Macdonald’s father, Duncan Macdonald, was a standout distance runner himself and now coaches the Punahou girls track and field team.