Long tackles adversity, reaches goals

Story by Ashleigh Fields, Staff Writer

During this time of the year most seniors are focusing on their senior exit project, working to find scholarships, and preparing for graduation. And for almost all this is an exciting yet hectic time. Those who play sports are in the middle of an even more chaotic time.

For senior athlete McKenzy Long this is nothing new. Long, a hard worker is used to using time management to overcome a hectic schedule because she knows how important it can be. She is a firm believer that a strong work ethic can help you conquer anything.

“In the end hard work always pays off even if it’s not an immediate result. It’s hard to achieve anything without work ethic,” Long said.

Long has demonstrated work ethic all her life mainly in her favorite sport, soccer. Long has been playing soccer since the age of three working to make sure she is qualified to play at the highest level. And next year she will.

Long signed to Lander University in Greenwood, SC her junior year to play soccer at the collegiate level. This year she demonstrated just how much she deserved to play.

“ All my life my parents have instilled in me the value of hard work and it’s paying off,” said Long.

As a senior Long became co-captain of the East Meck Soccer Team. And started the season off with several big games.

She opened the season with four goals and an assist in the 7-1 Phillip O. Berry game. In the next game she had two goals and three assists apiece in the 9-0 wins against Harding and Rocky River.

She’s done exceedingly well this season in spite of unexpected challenges.

Long has only missed a couple games this season, which is surprising due to her recent medical condition.

After running multiple tests including a biopsy, on Feb. 15, Long was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer.

The news was shocking to hear but definitely something that wouldn’t keep Long down.

Long had surgery to remove the cancerous lump on April 6 and then attended team’s game as a fan later on that day.

The East Meck soccer coach Tim Long (no relation) says her speedy return is no surprise to him.

“That’s just who she is, she’s been through adversity and injuries and just keeps coming back,” Coach Long said. “A lot of people would have given up, but McKenzy is a fighter. She’s never going to give up.”

Other members of the East Meck soccer team gathered together to encourage her.

A soccer mom decided to get bracelets for the whole team that says, “no one fights alone.”

Despite her medical condition this season has been one of the best for Long. But not only did she have a great year sports wise, she has continued to excel academically.

Long currently has a 4.73 GPA and serves as the National Honor Society president. She remains a hard worker in the International Baccalaureate Program and is looking forward to studying elementary education in college.

“Senior year has definitely taught me to enjoy things in the moment while being cognizant of the future.” said Long. “ I hope to continue to enjoy each moment of the year as it continues.