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Mackenzie Everson, South Dakota’s Miss State Tournament

Mackenzie Everson

For most high school kids, making just one state tournament in a school year as an athlete would be considered a success. But for Mackenzie Everson of Castlewood, she’s had quite the year. Not only is her team at state this week in softball, but she was a part of the state tournament teams in volleyball, basketball, and track as well for her school. And to add to it, next week, she’ll be competing in the ‘B’ girls state golf tournament, too.

That’s FIVE state tournament appearances for Mackenzie Everson IN THE SAME SCHOOL YEAR!

“It started with volleyball state tournament, and that was super cool – first time in 25 years for our program, and then it went on to basketball and we made it to state there,” Mackenzie Everson explained. “And then I realized I was going to be playing three spring sports, so I figured I’d probably make it to state track. State golf, we’ve won regions seven years in a row, so I was hoping that too, but softball was new, so I didn’t know.”

Castlewood placed 6th this fall at state volleyball, and then they won the consolation championship in March during the girls state basketball tournament. Just last week, Everson ran in the 100m dash, 200m dash, 400m dash, and 800m relay during state track. She finished 6th in the 100m and 6th in the 200m. Her 800m-relay team also reached the podium in 5th place.

And now this week, it’s state softball. Everson’s journey with softball began at a young age with tee ball. She then played slow pitch until sixth grade and started playing in a fall league in Watertown during her middle school years. Everson even played a couple summers of travel ball, so once the decision was made to sanction softball, and for Castlewood to field a team, she was all in.

“Once I found out I was going to make it to state in all three (spring sports) I was like ‘whoa, five state tournaments in one year, that’s pretty cool.’ It’s just been really fun with amazing teammates, and I wouldn’t be here without them,” Everson said. “I’ve always really loved softball, specifically defense, so just getting a new opportunity to do that, I felt really lucky. I told my parents, I was like, ‘I’m sort of sad I only got one year of it, because it’s been super fun.’ We have a lot of girls who never played, to watch people grow, so we’re really young. Just rewarding to see as a senior, the future is really bright.”

Just competing in three sports at the same time is considered a challenge, but to perform well in all three is another story. Add being a senior with graduation looming, it becomes even more of a hurdle.

“I’ve been to one golf practice this year, literally, and my coaches just trusted me to find my own time and get that done on my own time. And then track, my track coach is super flexible and just gives me the workouts and says, ‘do them when you can and do what you can.’ And then my softball coach, I’ve been to a very limited number of softball practices, because of track meets and golf meets, and he’s just been understanding of that,” told Everson. “Even like last year at state golf, I was talking to a girl and she said, ‘oh yeah, our AD only lets us pick one spring sport.’ I didn’t even know that was a thing. So I was like ‘wow, I’m so lucky.’”

Everson’s participation also extends past just athletics. She’s a French hornist who has been the drum major of the Castlewood marching band for three years.

“That has really stretched me as a leader a lot, because I started doing it my sophomore year and the first time I did I messed up really bad, I blew my whistle at the wrong time, and it messed up the whole band. I was an underclassman, so that was hard to deal with, but I had to learn how to accept when it’s you, accept responsibility, and try to do better next time,” said Everson with a slight chuckle. “And it helped me to become more assertive as a leader too, because you have to make decisions quickly. It’s one of my favorite things that I’ve done. It has helped me as a leader, and it has carried over to athletics.”

Everson is going to the University of Sioux Falls next year for track, and she plans to study elementary education as well. And while she’ll tell you track is probably her favorite sport, there’s a special spot in her heart for all of them.

“I love the competitiveness of track and the bonds that are created from track, because it’s so hard and it’s unlike any other sport,” she said. “If you asked me this question during volleyball season it probably would have been volleyball, and basketball season, probably basketball, but – I love all my sports honestly.”

From her coaches to her teammates, and then to her family, Everson appreciates everyone who has played a role in her life at Castlewood. With her faith strong, and her readiness for the next step in her journey, she desires to remain thankful for each step along the way.

“I try to let my faith define me. I’ve just been so blessed by the lord in so many ways and he’s just been really good to me, and the way he’s been really good to me is through my family,” Everson explained. “I have awesome parents, who are super supportive, but also pushing me to be my best, but they’re also not putting pressure on me. My faith and my family are the biggest parts of my life and I’m grateful that it’s that way.”

Regarding the state softball tournament this week, Castlewood enters the ‘B’ tournament as the No. 3 seeded team. They’ll play Thursday afternoon against Deuel in the quarterfinal round at 5:30 pm CT.

Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.