A once-in-a-generation athlete

Tales of Jadyn Zdanavage’s success are legendary in the halls of Portola High, where the four-sport athlete keeps breaking records, earning new titles and inspiring her teammates.

Like the night she was quintuple-teamed in a lacrosse game against Segerstrom High and still broke through to score her eighth goal of the game. Or how she went undefeated in cross-country last year, breaking three school records while winning races by an average of 57 seconds. Or her introduction to basketball coach Brian Barham when he asked the then-eighth grader: “Are you ready to play here?”

“No, Coach,” she said. “I’m ready to win here.”

“That gave me chills,” Barham says, adding, “She will go down as the best female athlete our school has ever had. She is everything right about the modern-day elite athlete.”

Since then, Zdanavage has emerged as one of the county’s best athletes – in four sports: cross-country, basketball, lacrosse and track and field.

She also earns straight A’s and is the consummate team player.

Her cross-country teammates voted her winner of the school’s PRIDE trophy last year, noting she shows the qualities of Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Drive and Empathy, according to cross-country coach Victor Quiros.

Track and field coach Cale Kavanaugh says Zdanavage has the rare ability to elevate those around her.

“Even in a sport like track and field that puts great emphasis on the individual,” he says, “Jadyn finds ways to make those around her better.”

“She’s a force of nature,” says lacrosse coach Brendan Murphy. “Her ferocious play is matched by her sportsmanship, which can throw opponents into a bit of confusion.”

Like it did in last year’s eight-goal game against Segerstrom or this year’s 10-goal game – another school record – against Northwood.

Already selected to compete in the upcoming USA Lacrosse National Tournament, Zdanavage hopes to lead Portola to the CIF playoffs.