Gunner Davis of the Simpson Simpsonian filed a story on Ian Mckenzie’s strong cross country season his senior year. Below is an excerpt of his story. For the full story, click here!
During this season, McKenzie was named IIAC performer of the week, was awarded all-conference honors and earned a trip to nationals. McKenzie ran the race in a time of 25 minutes, 43 seconds, placing 140th out of 279.
“It definitely meant a lot to myself and my family,” McKenzie said. “Making all the miles and the time commitment worth it to be on that stage. I was there as an individual, but I ran for my teammates, my coach and my family.”
This was the first time that a runner from Simpson made it to nationals since 2012 and was the best finish since 1995 when Matt Chance placed 136th. Head Coach Heath Moenck was pleased that Simpson sent a runner to nationals.
“It was great that we had someone getting back and representing Simpson,” Moenck said. “It proves that we can have elite runners here. He’s worked really hard, and we’ve done a good job developing him to get him to that caliber.”
McKenzie graduated from Dowling Catholic High School, where he ran on a cross country team that qualified for a national meet. He decided to come to Simpson after taking a visit. McKenzie, who is an environmental science major, also had multiple relatives who participated in athletics at Simpson who played a role in his decision.
“There’s a successful tradition at Simpson, and I wanted to be a part of it,” McKenzie said.
McKenzie’s high school success didn’t transfer over right away in college. As a freshman, he placed 119th in Regionals and 29th at conferences. But in his four years at Simpson, the senior improved his 8K time by over two minutes. This helped him place 20th at the regional meet and 13th at the conference meet this season.
“Mileage is a big thing that has been increased over my four years, and that’s how I’ve gotten better,” McKenzie said. “I put a lot more time on my feet. Harder workouts and longer workouts. Just building on past years. You know, doing things better and learning from past experiences.”