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April 1, 2014 11:07 AM

Louisa_MackenzieSuccessfully competing in two or even three different sports during a high school year is no easy achievement. That said, 10 boys and 10 girls from New Mexico were selected in February by the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame for being multi-sport student-athletes during the 2013-2014 school term. All 20 young people received a plaque from businessman Marty Saiz.  Among those honored was Louisa Mackenzie, 18, a senior at Bosque School, who has played and consistently stood out in varsity tennis, soccer and basketball for the Bobcats since the eighth grade.  Not only have sports been a big part of Mackenzie’s school life, but she has maintained a 3.9 GPA. In the fall she will attend Colorado College, where she plans to study global health issues. 

Photo at right by Alex Mansfield.

How did you manage to play all three sports almost every year and at the same time do so well academically?

I did a lot of prioritizing.  For one and half hours every day I was doing sports.  For maybe two to three hours I was doing homework.  I sacrificed socializing, but then got that in during the long bus trips we took. Those were fun rides.

Of the three sports, do you have a favorite?  

Probably tennis, but soccer is right up there.

You and Clare Donahue are the two-time defending champions in A-AAA girls doubles. Last year you were the team captain and Bosque won state.  You’ve been No. 1 singles for several years at Bosque. When did you first start playing?

When I was 5 or 6.  Mom and Dad were playing and they still do.  Mom (Mary Wommack) is a 4.0 and Dad (Jim Mackenzie) is a 3.5  Mom played growing up.  Not so much Dad.  My older brother Sam plays water polo.
Did you take lessons?  

John Kowalski was an early instructor at TCA. When he left there, I worked with him at the Los Ranchos courts. Before last year, Holly Kowalski, the Bosque coach, helped me.  Right now I’ve been hitting with Kelcy McKenna, the UNM women’s assistant coach. She’s a really good player. (Last year McKenna won the singles and mixed doubles at the Southwest Section qualifying tournament for the U.S. Open).

Are you going to play tennis at Colorado College? It’s a Division III sport there.

If I were to try out for a sport there, I would definitely lean toward tennis. Tennis and soccer are both lifetime sports. I’ll play all three sports there recreationally. I don’t have a ranking because I’ve never played in tournaments, except through school and with Jr. Team Tennis.

Doubles appears to be your specialty. Why do you like it so much?

I’m comfortable playing team sports and having a partner in doubles is like being on a team. I like the movement at net and the strategy of doubles.  I play singles in dual matches, of course, but I get more nervous in singles than doubles.

What do you do for your nerves?

Kathy Kolankiewicz, who became Bosque’s coach last year, has really helped me with the mental part.  Kathy tells me to relax and to understand that there is a bigger picture, that a match doesn’t count as much as I think it might. She helps me stay cool.  

Has Kathy helped your doubles?

She has. She’s worked with me and Clare on a lot on tactical things. She’ll tell us to hit at the other team’s feet, to hit down the middle.

Who is your favorite tennis player?

I liked Kim Clijsters a lot when she was playing.  She was really physical. I really liked it when she came back from her pregnancy and did so well. She showed women that can be done at the highest level.  Kim Clijsters was also a multi-sport athlete.  She was a very good gymnast as a young girl and those splits she used to do a tennis court reflect her gymnastics skills. And Kim isn’t a slender person.  I like Serena, but she doesn’t have the grace that Kim had.

The three sports you competed in at Bosque are all quite different, aren’t they?

Other than they all use a ball and require hand-eye coordination, they are very different. In soccer I played goalkeeper and in basketball I played point guard. I’m five-foot-six.

In soccer you were captain your junior and senior years and received All-District and All-State honors. And in basketball, you were captain for three years and were a three-time All-Metro A-AAA Player of the Year. Didn’t you ever slow down?

I didn’t play basketball this winter. I was too busy applying to colleges.
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