“I have what’s called thoracic outlet syndrome,” said Mackenzie, who hopes to return to vaulting next season. “Basically, my arms go completely numb. I wasn’t allowed to go to the New England championships and I had qualified for NCAA Eastern Nationals. I was devastated.
“I felt, if I couldn’t finish my season the way I wanted, the next best thing was to work with my sister and help her have more success.”
Arndt placed second at the MVC Meet (10-6), won the EMass. Division 2 crown (10-6) and was third at All-States with an impressive 11-0. But she was not done yet.
“I had hit 11-0 so I was very happy,” she said. “I still would have been happy, but my goal was 11-3. I just went into New Englands thinking I would have fun and see what happens.”
With Nguyen working with Central vaulter Ray Belanger-Deloge, who cleared an area-best 13-0, Mackenzie worked closely with her sister.
“She was so mad at me the whole time,” said Mackenzie. “I kept changing the weight of her poles. I was also nervous because my decisions put her on those poles, and if something went wrong it was my fault.”
Madison agreed there was a bit of sibling friction.
“She told me to use a 13-foot pole, which was so scary for me,” she said. “But she gets me. She understands what I am going through because she was there, and she knows how I work. When I was getting ready to go for 11-3, she told me, ‘Trust me. I know this is going to work.’”
It certainly did, as she topped the height with room to spare, scoring the second best vault in Eagle-Tribune area history, behind just Lindsey Patterson of Timberlane (12-5 in 2009).
“I just went crazy,” said Mackenzie. “I ran over and hugged her. I knew she was going to break my record, and I know now she is going to shatter it.”
While she has not yet set a goal for her senior season, hopes to have plenty of vaulting in her future.
“I think it is really cool that we are leaving a legacy here,” said Mackenzie. “She deserves that record, and she will keep going. She wanted to vault in college, and I would love if she followed me to Holy Cross. Maybe we could be 1-2 all-time there too.”