Leesburg, VA (Feb. 19, 2016) – Heritage senior cross county and track star Georgie Mackenzie has commit to run both sports for the University of Virginia beginning the 2016/2017 academic school year.
“I was so elated to have finally made a decision and commit to UVA, shared Mackenzie. Every time I think about it I get even more excited for the fall! I am also relieved to finally not be stressed about what school I will attend anymore.”
Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia is currently ranked #26 in the U.S. News & World Report 2016 edition of Best Colleges in the Nation. UVA’s graduate programs include the highly ranked Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, Curry School of Education, School of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Law and School of Medicine. The beautiful grounds of UVA have always been admired for its unique Jeffersonian architecture, which includes the famous Rotunda. The American Institute of Architects called the rolling landscape and gorgeous buildings, “the proudest achievement of American architecture in the past 200 years.” Additionally, a Gallup survey examining the long-term success of college graduates across the country, University of Virginia alumni surpassed national averages in employment, engagement at work, well-being and attachment to their alma mater.
“My recruiting experience was very self-driven, said Mackenzie. I did all the research and organization of my official visits by myself. I had a great time at all the schools I visited, but had the best time at UVA. Some factors that went into my decision to commit to UVA were the availability of resources to help student-athletes manage athletics and academics, the university has an excellent engineering program, and both the cross country and track teams are competitive.”
Mackenzie’s head cross county coach will be Todd Morgan. In 2015, Morgan led the Cavaliers to their first ACC women’s cross country championship since 1982, their second-consecutive NCAA Southeast Regional Championship and a 15th-place finish at the NCAA Championships–the third-consecutive top-15 finish for UVA. For his efforts, Morgan was named the ACC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year and USTFCCCA Southeast Region Coach of the Year.
The three-time All-Loudoun cross countryrunner and fourth place finisher in the 2015 VHSL Group 4A State Championship started running competitively her freshman year at Heritage High School. When asked about some of her fondest sports memories during that tenure, Mackenzie shared:
“My first practice as a freshman! We all met at Balls Bluff Park in the pouring rain, and I remember looking up to all the seniors absolutely terrified of how I was going to fit in and make new friends. One accomplishment I was proud of my junior year was winning my first race of the season, the Great Meadows Invitational. That was a turning point in my racing strategy, and helped me learn to be more aggressive and push the pace when racing. That was also the year that I met one of my best friends, Weini Kelati. We bonded so much over the season and we are now inseparable. Running the Distance Medley Relay at the New Balance Nationals with her, Kenzie Scanlon, and Megan Collins our junior track season was amazing too! I think I became the closest with all of my teammates and now best friends this past season, when I assumed the role of team captain. Throughout the season I could see our confidence growing at the prospect of winning states; a goal we were all working towards. When we finally won it I was elated! We all came to love the quote ‘she believed she could, so she did’ and we would henna it on everyone’s arm before a big race.”
“I am most thankful for my parents Jan and Angus Mackenzie, Coach Matt, Coach Gilbert, Coach Merriman, and my friend Emily Utendorf who would never fail to give me words of encouragement when I needed them most. I’m also thankful for Em for always supplying me with a whole baguette after especially tough races.”
When asked what advice she’d give others pursuing their dream, Mackenzie shared, “the limits of what your body can do are always so much greater than your mind can imagine, so it’s vital to switch your brain off and just enjoy the run! It’s also imperative to really enjoy running and not take it for granted, because your high school cross county years really do fly by.”
Please join us in wishing Georgie Mackenzie the very best with her running as she pursues an engineering degree from the University of Virginia.