"I was lucky, McNeese found me. I was really lucky," Grace McKenzie said. "I was just a little back kicking runner from Ireland and the fact that they spotted some talent, I was very lucky."
The Pokes are the lucky ones. Junior multi-event performer Grace McKenzie has been phenomenal for McNeese over the last three years. McKenzie continued her stellar career by making school history last weekend. She set a new school record in the pantheon with 3,880 points to finish first at Arkansas State. That performance landed her no. 1 in the Southland and number 17 in the NCAA.
"The goal is to always break the record first multi event of the season, or to hope," McKenzie said. "We got off to Arkansas and started off with the hurdles first event. We knew what our goals were for each event. We broke it down to what the minimum breakage would be, but then we got to thinking go hard or go home, lets smash it."
.And that's exactly what the Ireland native did. Out of the five events in the multis, McKenzie finished first in three of them and second in the other two. She also set new personal records with a time of 2:22:01 in the 800m, 8.19 in the 55m and 18-4.00 in the long jump. With putting up those numbers, McKenzie also broke the previous record of 3,683 points that was held by Ashley Johnson.
"Ashley and I came in at the same time, she came from a very prestigious junior college," McKenzie said. "She was knocking out scores. I knew that if I wanted to go somewhere, I needed to set my goals off what I knew she could do. I attest to her to this day and I must focus on working in practice. It was like every day was a competition to get up to her standards."
McKenzie's goal is to qualify for nationals this season and she believes anything is possible.
"Its international, I'm lucky to say, McKenzie added. "The support I have here, it's like a family I'm luck to say. From day one you're welcome."