It’s never easy moving from one state to another.
Being a 16-year-old girl makes that process even more difficult.
So, whenever McKenzie Wright left Liberal, Kansas for Camdenton, she knew it would be an adjustment.
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“I was really upset about it at first, I really liked it in Liberal,” said Wright. “I loved my friends and everything was going great with track and cross country. I was so used to Kansas, so it was a huge change to move to Missouri.”
A huge change to say the least.
But the feelings of anxiety eased after her first few days as she became more comfortable being a Laker.
“I was so nervous,” said Wright. “I could feel my heart beating the entire as I walked in and finally sat down in my first class. Then it was fine. Everyone was so nice and welcoming, it was great. After the first week of school I started joining more clubs and getting more involved. I started meeting a lot of people and I realized that life has to go on.”
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The easiest part of the move for Wright, who as a sophomore at Liberal finished top seven in the triple jump (second), high jump (third), and long jump (seventh), was adjusting to life by the lake.
“It’s gorgeous here,” said Wright. “The lake is pretty awesome. It is probably my favorite thing about Camdenton. In Liberal there was like four trees. There were no lakes, or rivers, or even hills. It is definitely a nice change.”
The second easiest transition was made athletically.
Wright had experienced quite a bit of success on the track in Kansas for perennial power Liberal, but wasn’t quite sure how it would translate.
The rain and snow storms that pushed all the way into May only added to her apprehension.
“Coming from Kansas to Missouri everything was new to me,” said Wright. “I didn’t know what to expect in terms of competition. Then, we spent the first month inside doing drills. I maybe had two or three practices on the track before our first meet because of the weather. It was nerve-racking.”
That apprehension would quickly be calmed as Wright emerged one of the area’s top jumpers on the girls’ side, posting area-highs in the high and triple.
Her great regular season continue all the way through the state meet where she finished second in the high jump and fifth in the triple jump.
Wright actually tied for first in the high, but due to scratches was forced to settle for second.
“I was just excited to make it,” said Wright. “I was hoping to jump 5’8”, but it didn’t happen. But I had fun and it was a positive experience. Becoming all-state in the two events that I’m in was great.”
Her great showing in Jefferson City has placed the bar high on her outlook for next year, literally and figuratively.
“I try not to put my expectations too high, but they are definitely there,” said Wright. “I’m definitely hoping for a double state championship. I am working hard this summer so hopefully the extra weight lifting will pay off. I’ve never really touched a weight until now.”
In a year, McKenzie Wright went from the new kid to an all-state athlete.
Moving is never easy. But she’s making the most of it.
Getting to know McKenzie Wright
Favorite athlete: Usain Bolt
Favorite team: Denver Broncos
Pregame superstition: Eat carrots
Most disliked athlete: None
Favorite movie: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Favorite musical artist: Imagine Dragons
Favorite actor: Sandra Bullock
Favorite athletic memory: Making it to state
Song on your iPod people wouldn’t expect: “Up All Night” – One Direction
Hidden talent: Photography