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North Branford junior Mackenzie Glenn had a great indoor track season that saw her win the long jump at Shorelines and reach a personal-record distance of 16 feet-10.75 inches in the State Open. (Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Glenn )
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Mackenzie Glenn has been excelling in the long jump with the North Branford track program for the past few years. This winter, the junior had her best season yet by winning the event at a marquee meet and ultimately advancing to the state’s biggest stage of them all.
Mackenzie started off her postseason run by taking first place in the long jump at the Shoreline Conference Championship with a distance of 15 feet-9.25 inches. She later placed third in the Class S State Championship by reaching 16-4.75. By virtue of this finish, Mackenzie earned the right to compete at State Open Championship, where she came in ninth place with a personal-record leap of 16-10.75.
“Last year in outdoor, I placed second [at Shorelines], so this was my first time winning that event,” Mackenzie says. “Having the motivation from my team, it was good to be able to win and see myself progress and move on to states and the Open. It’s a really good feeling and motivates me to go further. It helps me to keep going.”
Mackenzie wasn’t expecting to step into the long jump when she started off at North Branford. In her freshman and sophomore years, Mackenzie competed for the girls’ cross country team. Then-head coach, the late Floyd Parness, felt that Mackenzie’s gymnastics background would suit her well in the long jump. So, she decided to give it a try.
“My freshman year, Floyd had me try long jump,” says Mackenzie. “I tried it, and I wasn’t very bad, so I continued to my sophomore year and continued to get better. Gymnastics helped, as well as training with the school.”
Mackenzie was the only junior to earn a captain’s role for first-year Head Coach Chelsea Harris on the girls’ indoor track team this year. Mackenzie enjoyed the role, because she liked being someone whom her teammates could rely upon for encouragement.
“It means a lot to me to get the role of captain, especially being a junior. I like being a leader on the team, and it’s a great feeling to know I’m the person the whole team can come to. I’ve been helping everyone and doing what I can to make things happen,” Mackenzie says. “I like to be energetic and motivating to everyone. It’s easy to get discouraged, but I like to bring the energy up and motivate the team to do its best.”
Coach Harris says that Mackenzie is not only a great emotional leader, but really sets the tone by example during both workouts and events. Harris will also coach Mackenzie with the outdoor track team in the spring.
“As the only junior captain, she is a great leader and has a great work ethic,” Harris says. “Mackenzie has made amazing strides thus far, but I can see her going further, and hope for some strong performances this coming spring season.”
Aside from the long jump, Mackenzie competed in the 55-meter dash, the 55 hurdles, and the 300, as well as the 4x200 and 4x400 relays for the indoor team this season. At the Shoreline meet, she finished third in the 55 hurdles by running a career-best time of 9.84 seconds.
With the outdoor team, Mackenzie runs the 100, the 200, and in the 4x100 relay. Mackenzie loves the sprinting events and says they get her adrenaline pumping.
“Those races are very high energy, so I definitely excel in those the most. It’s good for your last kick,” says Mackenzie. “The team really comes together whenever anyone is running. We’re always cheering, especially during the relays. That’s when we can really support and motivate each other.”
With spring on the way and a full senior year still to come, Mackenzie is setting her sights on some big prizes for both she and her teammates.
“My goals for this upcoming season and my career here are to definitely make it to New Englands and maybe even nationals,” Mackenzie says. “This season, I was the only athlete to continue to the Opens, but I think it’ll be fun to get more athletes to join me. I’m just excited to continue on and see what not only I can do, but the team as a whole.”
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