“I was vaulting for my club team and I cleared a bar at 12 feet,” she said. “I started celebrating in the air, brought my arms up and hit the bar and knocked it off. I ended up with nerve damage in my elbow. I needed surgery to move my funny bone to the top of my arm.”
Unable to compete, Mackenzie turned her attention to mentoring her then-freshman sister.
“She basically forced me to do pole vault,” joked Madison. “I watched her compete when I was young and I was just amazed by what she did. We were both gymnasts growing up, so she knew it would fit my skills. I wanted to try something different and she said, ‘Come on, try pole vault.’ It was really exciting. I vaulted 8 feet as a freshman, but it wasn’t until last year when I really started to feel like this could be a big part of my life.”
Last spring, Madison placed fourth at All-States with an area-best jump of 10-0, earning her Eagle-Tribune All-Star honors. After an offseason of club vaulting, her expectations were sky high heading into this season.
“I knew Madison was going to break my record this year,” said Mackenzie. “I had been saying it for years. I may have told her she had to do pole vaulting, but she fell in love with the sport just like I did.”
Despite battling nagging injuries, Madison delivered another standout spring, reaching 10-6 and leading the Raiders to a second in the pole vault relay at the EMass. Division 2 Relays.
Once the postseason meets arrived, she also picked up an extra edge when her sister began volunteering as a coach for the Raiders, helping regular vault coach Jimmy Nguyen. But it was not under the greatest circumstances, as Mackenzie’s junior season at Holy Cross had come to a halt due to injury.