Mackenzie Gray first showed the spring in her legs as a top gymnast at famed Brestyan’s Gymnastics Club in Burlington.
But Aly Raisman’s former teammate tired of the sport and took up track. The Governor’s Academy sophomore from Andover is one of the top young jumpers in the country with bests of 39-0 1/4 in the triple jump and 18-7 in the long jump.
Gray also has a passion for robotics and will be attending a two-week camp at Stanford University. She’ll also attend a track camp at Stanford, which has one of the top track programs in the country.
In this week’s Around the Horn, Gray talks about her record-setting track career, her former gymnastics career and her impressive gardening skills.
What are your personal bests? “In the long jump 18-7 and triple jump 39-0 1/4 at the New England Prep Schools meet (last week) and 15.37 in the 100 hurdles vs. Thayer.”
How did you get into track? “I did competitive gymnastics until the summer before my freshman year. I knew in high school it would be difficult to continue gymnastics. In the spring of 8th grade I decided to start track. I thought I could pick it up because of my gymnastics background. That was at Pike School in Andover.”
Were you a natural? “When I first started, I did it for fun. Over that summer, I did some extra practices and realized I really liked it. I kept working all that summer. I wasn’t too good at the beginning.”
Was it difficult giving up gymnastics? “It was a pretty hard decision. I did it since age 4. The few years leading up to it, the winding down, it wasn’t as fun. I still miss it sometimes.
“At a certain point, I knew if I wanted to continue into the elite, I would have to spend a lot more time in gymnastics. I chose to stay just at level 9 so I could be a normal kid.”