It’s been nearly a full calendar year since Douglas High School three-sport athlete Mackenzii Phillips has suited up for the Trojans. The down time has not been easy on the typically happy and friendly straight-A student.
“I have become semi-depressed and anxious,” Phillips said about her experience during this COVID-19 induced offseason. “I have been getting out of that recently, thank God, mainly just because I have been able to actually get back into my sports.”
Over the last 12 months, Phillips has seen her junior season in track and field get canceled. A trip to compete in the javelin in Australia was also called off.
Now, as a senior, Phillips is waiting patiently, with fingers crossed that she’ll get to compete one last time for the Trojans.
“I never truly thought about how extremely important (sports) were,” Phillips admitted. “I always loved them and had such great passion for them, but I never thought that they would affect me like they have.”
Family, friends and the community have helped keep Phillips from spiraling into the darkness of depression.
“It’s been tough, but it hasn’t been as tough as some kids have had it,” she said. “I feel like I’m very lucky for all the support that I have for my mental health.”
The high school sports calendar is set to begin later this month and that has brought opportunities for Phillips to get back to what she loves. Open gyms have given her the chance to practice volleyball and basketball and through the summer she has spent time at the Douglas High track and field facility practicing the javelin and running.
Phillips has seen great success in her athletic endeavors with the Trojans. She’s a two-time state champion in the javelin and has received all-league honorable mention in volleyball and basketball.
Not too shabby for a kid who says she grew up just playing a lot of tag.
“It’s kind of funny for me to be known as one of the more athletic people in my class, when I didn’t start any sports until the sixth grade,” Phillips said.
It started with track and then the jerseys for other sports started piling up. She added basketball to help get in shape for track season, but fell in love with the game. Then she added volleyball to get in shape for basketball and well, you know the story.
“I just wanted to play track and that’s all I wanted to do, but as I started to participate in all the other sports I just grew to fall in love with all of them. So, I don’t think I could pick a favorite,” Phillips said.
The hope now is that Phillips will have a chance to compete at all her senior year. The volleyball team is scheduled to begin official practice on Feb. 22, but the situation is in jeopardy as indoor sports have numerous restrictions under the current state guidelines.
The track and field season would start next for Phillips in April and the chances of some sort of competition seem likely. Although, whether she’ll be able to claim a third state title in javelin is uncertain as it’s unknown if there will be a state meet.
The basketball season would wrap up Phillips’ senior year, but it’s the most uncertain sport as of now.
“It’s been a little nerve-wracking to not know what’s in the coming future, but, I mean, always hope for the best, I guess,” Phillips said with a chuckle.