Salute To Seniors: Mackenzie Wilson - The Bolles School

The 2015-2016 school year has provided some great highlights in both cross country and track across the Sunshine State. In the coming weeks many of our seniors will head out to start their college careers both athletically and academically. We wanted to salute them one more time in this special feature and say thank you for your support over the years. What was your most memorable race/moment?

MW: I have had many memorable moments, but I have to recall when I was in the 7th grade at the Geneva School when I finished second at the State Championships to Kathryn Fluehr in the 3200.  It was so exciting standing on the medal stand with Florida's top runner next to me, and having many of my school and teammates cheering for me in the stands.  I will never forget that moment when I earned my first state medal.   

FLR: Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

MW: My biggest competition has been from my good friend Julia Montgomery and the Pinecrest team. Julia has pushed me to my limits year in and year out and Pinecrest has challenged our team every year.  I love that although we are big rivals on the track or cross country field, we have become best of friends and big supporters of one another. 

FLR: What was your greatest accomplishment? 

MW: I have had an amazing career at Bolles.  The one that stands out, however, has to be winning the state track championship in the 4 x 800, the 3200 and being runner up in the 1600 my sophomore year and winning the first team track championship that year with the Bolles girls.    

FLR: If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school? 

MW: My overall running career in high school has been great, but recently it has been a bit of a roller coaster on which I have experienced highs and lows.   As much as I would like to change the lows, I wouldn't, because it taught me to pay closer attention to my physical body and I learned I can't run through everything. All good lessons before going to college. 

FLR: What is the most difficult obstacle you have to overcome?

MW: I came into my senior year with lofty goals and huge expectations. As usual, I worked hard over the summer, and when I could not fulfill these dreams I became frustrated. The most difficult obstacle for me to hurdle was not having an answer to why I wasn't performing well.   I just kept running, but never felt like myself.  I didn't accomplish all I wanted this year, but it has definitely taught me more about myself, my health, and the sport than have the previous three years.

FLR: What will you miss most?

MW: The team I ran with for four years became not just a group of friends, but they were like little sisters. I will also miss the friendships I have made with girls around the state.  This has been my playground for seven years and I loved the atmosphere that all of us created and shared at meets.  I have great friends from all over the US because of running and look forward to creating more.  

FLR: What advice would you give to younger athletes?

MW: Hard work does pay off and to never give up. Believe in yourself and your ability. Love and appreciate your sport and those that make it possible. Most of all enjoy yourself.  

FLR: What are your college plans? 

MW: After my official visits it was a difficult choice as I liked so many of the coaches and girls.   In the end Northwestern University stood out, and I look forward to starting my College running career there in August with plans to study biology.  

FLR: Who would you like to say thank you to?

MW: I would first like to acknowledge my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; without Him, none of this would have been possible. I would like to thank my parents for everything they have done to foster my love for running and supporting me through both the highs and the lows.  I would also like to thank my teammates, Coach Ryan, Coach Pentaleri and the assistant coaches for all their support. The Bolles School for the level of excellence in both athletics and academics we are encouraged to pursue.  And, I would also like to thank the Geneva School and Coach Bill Ledbetter for identifying and nurturing my love for running when I was in 6th grade.