Destined to Soar: An interview with Mackenzie York, USATF 2022 Athlete of the Year.
Destined to SOAR.
This interview series is aimed at celebrating, recognizing and promoting the incredible talent and ferocious courage of our young women of tomorrow.
Let's recognize the magnificent effort of girls' in sport across all codes!
Today our interview is with youth sensation Mackenzie York. Soar Active had the privilege to catch up with Mackenzie and chat about her love for Track and Field. Mackenzie is 1500m National Champion / 4x400m National Champion and 3x XC Team National Champion,11x Junior All American, 7x State Champion, 6x Regional Champion, and USATF 2022 Athlete of the Year. WOW!
1. Mackenzie, tell us about your early life?
Mackenzie: I have had a lot of health problems since I was born. I am basically allergic to everything. Doctors warned about doing sports and stuff like that because they said it would not be good for me. Obviously I play sports. I also go to school, play with my friends and I have a dog named Bentley too.
2. So how did you discover Track and Field?
Mackenzie: I discovered running during the Pandemic, when everything shut down. I was playing soccer, basketball and anything else my parents would sign me up for and then everything stopped. At first my parents would play with my brothers and I in the back yard, but its not the same as having a team. That's when my parents found Pacific Coast Shockwaves. Shockwaves continued to work out and practice so we joined up because that was the only thing we could find to do during lockdown.
3. What was your next step?
Mackenzie: At first I hated it. Running is so different from other sports because you just run. The thing I began to like about running were the friends I made. There are a lot of really nice girls on the team, so as I got to know them it became more fun. Our coaches really care about you too. They have really high standards.
The kids I run with are trying to be the best versions of themselves, so I like that too. Since there was nothing else going on at the time, I would go to practice everyday and I became really good friends with the other kids on the team. We would push each other to get better and better.
4. How do you balance your competitive training and managing school?
Mackenzie: I go to school every day and do my best. I am only in 2nd grade so I don't have a lot of homework. If I pay attention at school, I only have a little homework to do. If I do have homework. I do it right when I get home, before I go to practice. When we start traveling for Regional and National Championships for the Junior Olympics, sometimes I start to miss some school, but my teachers are really good about giving me the work so I can complete it and not fall behind. Having an education is super important, so I always make sure to do my best in school.
5. What do you do in your downtime?
Mackenzie: I have a dog named Bentley. She is part Chihuahua and part Pit Bull. She is really fun to play with. I also like art a lot. I draw pictures of all sorts of stuff
6. What makes you feel happy, brave, and strong?
Mackenzie: My dog makes me feel happy. I like playing with her when I have free time. I also have two brothers who drive me crazy, but sometimes I also like to spend time with them.
I feel brave and strong with my friends and teammates. I have friends at school that I also play soccer and flag football with. It is really nice to be able to have friends that we can help each other out at school and then play sports together. We help each other get really good grades at school and we also take that friendship onto the sports field too. We won the flag football Super Bowl the last two years in a row.
8. Tell us about a special moment in the last year?
Mackenzie: This last year I was blessed to be named USATF athlete of the year. At the banquet I got to meet Kendall Ellis. She runs for USATF and has won gold medals at the Olympics. That was really cool. I follow her on Instagram and she talks about and posts stuff that shows her struggles. That is really helpful and I want to do that for other girls too. I also have an Instagram account that I hope encourages other girls to do their best.
9. What is your ultimate goal?
Mackenzie: A lot of other people want to go to the Olympics and be Olympians. That would be cool if it happens, but I am not going to worry about that. Really I would like to go to college and get an education. Running and sports is a great way for me to spend time with friends and learn life lessons. If I can get someone to help pay for me to get a college education because of that, I would be super happy.
10. What's your favourite attribute about yourself?
Mackenzie: I really like to push my self to do my best. I get frustrated when I don't win, but I don't give up. I make sure to work hard to be the best I can be and go for the win the next time. So I guess, not giving up and putting forth my best effort is my favorite thing.
11. Favourite song on repeat right now?
Mackenzie: Build a Boat by Colton Dixon. My teacher played this one at school and I really like it. When we are working out I ask for that one to be played if I get to choose.
12. What has Track and Field taught you about life?
Mackenzie: Running is all about hard work. When it comes to the race, you get to see how hard people have been working. I have learned from not being a runner to becoming a competitive runner that if I work hard, I can do anything I put my mind to.
12. What would you say to other young females about following their dreams?
Mackenzie: A lot of people like to say that I have great genes and that is why I am good at running. I would say those people a half right. My genes make me a good runner, but my genes are terrible. I struggle with health issues every single day. Running is a sport that requires you to tolerate a lot of pain and because I tolerate a lot of pain every day, I am good at running. I really like the saying "God gives his greatest battles to his fiercest warriors."
So I would say to other females that difficulties have been placed in your life for a reason. Often times it is the things that we struggle with or cause pain that are allowing us to grow and be the best versions of ourselves. Don't back away from hard stuff. Keep going. Put in the time and effort required to become the type of person who deserves your dream and you will achieve that dream.