November 20, 2013 - Mackenzie Proper finished her senior season with Clarkston Girls Cross Country team with a smile.
Mackenzie Proper runs in the MHSAA Cross Country State Finals at Michigan International Speedway, Nov. 2. Photo provided (click for larger version)
"I really enjoyed it," she said about her final season. "It was my favorite year by far. I got a lot more confident as an athlete and it was my fastest season. Being an upperclassmen was really nice because I got to use all my experience."
Proper began running in middle school track and was a sprinter when one of the coaches asked her to run the 400-meter.
"I had stride of a distance runner," she explained. "Then, I went out for the team for the next fall."
She decided to pursue cross country because she is a competitive person and it was a blend of a individual sport and a team sport.
"I had the support of teammates but at the same time I was able to compete against myself," Proper said. "It is a very rewarding sport."
She hit her fastest time 20:56 at the OAA Red Jamboree on Oct. 17.
Proper will be running in the spring with the girls track and field team and will be focusing on the half mile and mile distance events.
After graduation she is aiming to head to Michigan State University, explaining she has spent a lot of time on the campus with her sister.
"I like the campus and their programs are really beneficial for the degree I am going into," Proper said. She added she is considering secondary education for mathematics.
"I really enjoy math," she said. "I enjoy the challenge. I want to use my love for math to help other people."
She currently has a 4.1 grade point average and explained she is taking a lot of advanced placement classes.
Her advice to aspiring athletes is to believe in themselves.
"Last year I had a rough year and it really deals with confidence," she admitted. "This year I made sure I believed I could do better. I believed in my training and it made a difference to help me go far this year."
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.