Girls Lacrosse: Mackenzie Smith was set for big season with Columbus Academy

FRANK DIRENNA
fdirenna@thisweeknews.com
Columbus Academy senior attacker Mackenzie Smith will be continuing her lacrosse career at The College of Wooster next season.

Columbus Academy girls lacrosse coach Anne Horton considers Mackenzie Smith to be an ideal student-athlete.

Smith not only competed in three sports for the Vikings, but also was a stellar student and leader.

She lost her senior season in lacrosse when the OHSAA canceled spring sports April 20 because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

An attacker, Smith was sharing captain duties with seniors Emma Belford, Lauren Bernacki and Abby Yakam when the OHSAA initially postponed the season March 13.

"Mackenzie is fantastic," said Horton, who also serves as Academy's assistant athletics director and field hockey coach. "She brings every intangible quality that you can have to the table. Her work ethic, her commitment to make herself better, and not only that, for those around her, she has such a holistic way of approaching her athletic endeavors."

As a junior, Smith helped the Vikings advance to their third consecutive Division II, Region 7 regional final, where they lost to DeSales 13-7. Academy lost to the Stallions 16-7 in 2018 and 14-4 in 2017 in regional finals.

With the loss of several key attackers to graduation, Smith was being counted on to help lead the offense.

Last season, she recorded two goals and 10 ground balls.

"This was going to be a big season for her with playing time," Horton said. "She was going to be strong. She sat behind some strong players last season, so she didn't get a lot of looks at the goal."

Smith, who has committed to play for The College of Wooster, played on varsity as a sophomore and junior after playing on junior varsity as a freshman. She credits Horton for her progress in the sport.

"I definitely have a high respect for her," said Smith, who also played volleyball and basketball for the Vikings. "She's a tough coach and has high expectations for her athletes as players and leaders. She knows what she's doing and it's good to know that she thinks highly of me."

Smith, a Gahanna resident who is graduating with a 3.8 GPA, also credits the school for helping her prepare for the future.

"It helped me a lot, especially with time management and getting all my work done," she said. "I've definitely developed a very good sense of knowing what needs to be done and how much time I have, and balancing sports and academics.

"I'm going to miss all the friends that I made since I went there in pre-kindergarten and, of course, the faculty that played a huge part."

Smith began playing lacrosse in third grade with the New Albany Youth Lacrosse Association. She joined Academy's program in seventh grade and competed for the Midwestern Force Lacrosse Club for two seasons beginning in eighth grade.

Smith began playing volleyball in seventh grade and basketball in eighth grade.

A setter in volleyball, she helped lead the Vikings to a 14-10 record last fall, marking their second consecutive winning season. Academy finished 15-7 in 2018.

Smith, who also served as a captain in volleyball and basketball, considered playing all three sports in college before opting to focus on lacrosse.

"Last summer, I really started looking deeper into schools and I attended lacrosse camps at colleges just to get a feel for the school and Wooster was definitely high on my list," she said. "I did a five-day lacrosse camp and the head coach (Elizabeth Ford) pulled me aside and offered me a spot. That was one of my happiest moments."

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