MARIEMONT — Busy is a relative term.
But by almost any standard – except maybe her own – Mackenzie Fields is busy. Busy preparing to be a student teacher. Busy planning her December wedding. Busy training for a possible run at the 2016 summer Olympics.
Busy collecting awards.
The University of Cincinnati senior pole vaulter and 2008 Mariemont High School graduate landed Capital One Academic All-America Division I second team honors as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
She finished her career with a 3.906 cumulative grade-point average in secondary education with an emphasis in mathematics. She earned a 4.0 GPA in six grading periods while being named to the dean’s list and the Bearcat honor roll on 12 occasions.
Fields was the American Eagle Outfitters Female Scholar-Athlete of Year for UC during 2012-13. She also was named to the 2012 Bearcats Strong team that salutes athletic, academic and community service accomplishments.
“I know that I can’t do pole vaulting forever and I’m going to need to get a job,” Fields said. “And you need an education to get a job.”
Fields – who began at UC as a biomedical engineering major – switched to education after her first co-op experience made her rethink her priorities. She graduates in August and will begin her student teaching at Sycamore High School in the fall.
“I’ve always loved math and working with kids,” Fields said. “It’s a great fit. I’ll be teaching Algebra I and II, so mostly freshmen and sophomores. I’m excited.”
Her success isn’t limited to the classroom.
Fields was an All-Big East Conference performer, winning both indoor and outdoor pole vault conference titles this season. She was a second-team All-America selection, finishing 10th in the NCAA indoor championships and 14th in the outdoor.
“She is a very high achiever,” said UC women’s track head coach Susan Seaton. “She is actually going to be a graduate assistant with us and we’re happy she will still be here with us.”
Fields began her vault career with some apprehension at Mariemont High School, but still owns the school record there at 11-foot-9.
“I did gymnastics for a long time, which is I think how a lot of vaulters get into the sport,” she said. “I stopped gymnastics before high school and the track coach asked me to try the vault.
“I didn’t really want to do it. I didn’t have a lot of practice and I don’t like going out and doing things unless I know I am good at them. But I wound up liking it and getting better at it.”
Now with her college career behind her, Fields isn’t ready give up the vault. She has her eye on the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Her personal best height of 4.35 meters (14-foot-3.25) was just 10 centimeters short of the automatic qualifying height for national team tryouts.
“I definitely want to give it more time,” she said. “There’s a lot in my vault that can improve.
“I try to pick just one thing to focus on from my coach. You can get bogged down in a million things because vaulting is so technical. In practice I might think about a lot of things, but in a meet, I just think about hitting the the box hard.”