By Quyen Nguyen
MacKenzie Willis is from Walnut, California and she is an incredible athlete that has the heart of a competitor. She joined Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) at the age of 10 and this is her first time competing at the USA Games!
MacKenzie will be competing against other athletes on the track! She will be running the 800, 400, and relay. In order to prepare for her upcoming races, trains intensely by attending practices and running five miles every day. “I try and eat very healthily including fruits and vegetables as well as drink plenty of water. I also try and get a good night’s rest each day. I listen to music in the evening which helps calm me down from all the activities of the day,” she shares. “I go to the gym two times per week and work out with a personal trainer who is helping to condition me.”
Special Olympics has provided a space for MacKenzie to meet new people and to make new friends. Outside of Special Olympics, she works at Rite Aid and dances competitively. Her personality shines through and her friendliness is something that others love about her. One of the most important things that MacKenzie has gained from Special Olympics is meeting her best friends Ryan, Pei Lin, and Jordan.
MacKenzie wants to do her best to represent Southern California at the USA Games. She jumped up and down when she received news that she would be attending. MacKenzie is excited to fly to Orlando and to compete against other athletes. In the future, she has multiple goals that she wants to accomplish, sharing that “In the next five years, I still intend to be on the running track. It is so healthy and keeps me fit. I intend to do a lot of traveling all over the world. I hope to continue to work at Rite Aid or Target. I also intend to have a lot of fun with my family and friends.”