Leroy finishes ninth in mile at indoor national championship

MacKenzye Leroy, ‘18, ran well, missing All-American honors by just six seconds


MacKenzye Leroy, ‘18, competing with teammates close during cross country season. Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info

Adele Petagna, Sports Writer

MacKenzye Leroy, ‘18, had a strong showing in the mile finals at the NCAA championship last weekend in Birmingham, Ala., but finished just short of receiving All-American honors.

Leroy held the 13th best time among all male Division III runners for the mile prior to the national meet, with the top 15 spots advancing. On March 9, he finished with the ninth-fastest time in the preliminary races. He was one of 10 runners to qualify for the finals of the event on Saturday, ultimately finishing in ninth place, just one spot away from receiving an All-American spot and recognition.

Leroy said he would not have gotten to his final career indoor competition without significant training and hard work.

At the start of his W&L career, Leroy was running a 4:32 mile, but he said with dedication and a regimented practice schedule, he gradually dropped nearly 20 seconds to run a 4:13 mile last week, solidifying his spot at nationals.

“I started as a kind of support role guy who could score a few points in track and be the fourth or fifth runner in cross country, but nothing too big,” he said. “Each year, I’ve moved up slightly on the team, in the conference and in the region, obviously culminating in the great year I’ve had up to this point.”

Leroy mainly works with the assistant track coach, Brandon Spalding, on his day-to-day routine—a typical week consists of 50 to 55 miles over six days of running. He works with Spalding to alternate between 10-mile distance runs and shorter track workouts.

Leroy said this consistency has been key to shaving off about five seconds from his mile time each year, as has constantly reminding himself to complete his workouts with great effort and focus.

Men’s track and field coach Brandon Uhl spoke highly of Leroy, sharing a story he said proves Leroy’s maturity as a person and a teammate.

When the Generals fell behind during the ODAC championships, Uhl and Spalding said they were worried the team wouldn’t pull through in the end. They knew Leroy was one of their strongest runners, so they asked him to compete in a third event, which he had not prepared for.

By agreeing to help the team out, Leroy was potentially sacrificing his individual chances at a nationals bid.

“Running in three events in one meet really takes a toll on your body,” Uhl said.

Uhl said Leroy didn’t want to be the reason the team didn’t win a championship. He said Leroy showed very selfless behavior and ultimately was rewarded in his individual event, as well.

Leroy will continue to be a force for the Generals throughout the outdoor track season, including in the W&L Track and Field Carnival this coming weekend.