Mackenzie Thornton of Highland Village is an athlete and a scholar— literally.
The state level swimmer recently graduated from Marcus High School in Flower Mound, where she served as integral part of the Marauders swim team, including qualifying for region on multiple occasions, a state appearance in the 200 Yard Freestyle Relay this past year, all while maintaining a 3.5 grade point average.
Thornton's efforts in the pool and the classroom paid off for her in a big way, as she received partial athletic and academic scholarships to Colorado State University this fall.
Marcus swim team coach Shannon Gillespy said Thornton will certainly be missed.
“She has made a huge difference for our program,” Gillespy said. “It is not only in her leadership, but in her swimming. She is just a great asset to our program. Her dedication is incredible, she has great support from her parents and coaches, and her drive to be great is what sets her apart.”
Thornton said that swimming at Marcus High School has been very special for her, as well.
“I've been on the swimming team for four years, and I absolutely love the team,” Thornton said. “My younger sister (Rileigh) was also on the team this past year, which was really special. We actually had the opportunity to go to state this year. We were both on the same relay that went to state, and we are just a really close team.”
Thornton was Rookie of the Year her freshman year, Most Improved her sophomore year and MVP her junior and senior years at Marcus High School.
In addition, the Marcus graduate was selected as an Academic All-American this past school year, was a four year letter winner, qualified for region every year in multiple events and qualified for state this past year.
“I feel like I have always been dedicated,” Thornton said. “I have been swimming since the age of four, and I stay focused on my goals, and everybody is very supportive of me.”
Thornton said she believes that swimming at Marcus has really helped prepare her for college swimming, as well.
“It really helped me a lot,” Thornton said. “It was great to get to represent my school and meet all of the people I got to meet. I just really enjoyed swimming at Marcus because of those things.”
Thornton said there is something she will remember more than anything else about her time at Marcus High School.
“It would have to be when we qualified for state, and a couple of the girls made a point to drive down to Austin to support us,” Thornton said. “That meant a lot to me to know we had that kind of support. To be able to go to state with my sister and one of my best friends was also great.”
Thornton said she decided to attend Colorado State for a couple of reasons, and she already knows what she plans to study when she gets there.
“I met the coach (Chris Woodard) when I was recruited by NC State my junior year,” Thornton said. “He moved to CSU, so I was interested in that, because I liked what he was all about. They are a really good team, with a strong freshman class. I love the school location. It's right at the foot of the mountains.
“The team is really nice, and I am planning to study business there.”
Gillespy agreed that Colorado State was an excellent choice for Thornton and said she expects her former swimmer to flourish in Fort Collins.
“I think it is an awesome fit,” Gillespy said. “I think that was the best choice she could have made. She loves the campus. She loves the atmosphere, and when you have that for an athlete who has her kind of drive it's amazing.”