Following an illustrious high school career, Mackenzie Wallevand (’17) headed off to the Central Vally last fall to study criminology and play D1 lacrosse at Fresno State. Once there, she wasted no time showing that she was ready for D1 ball, finishing the season as the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Rookie of the Year.
Knowing that she wanted to find the same success in college that she had in high school, Wallevand spent a good part of last summer in the gym and on the field getting ready for fall ball. Despite her numerous high school accolades (two Southern Section championships, two First Team All-County selections, an All-American nod, and a Female Athlete of the Year Award to name a few), Wallevand knew that she would have to continue improving all aspect of her game if she wanted to continue her success.
“Overall I felt prepared for fall ball. I spent the summer, leading into freshman year, training with my coach Nick Tintle (Athletes Choice, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA). Not only did I work on my strength and conditioning, but I put a substantial amount of time into my shooting and stick work,” Wallevand said.
That hard work paid big dividends when she earned herself a starting position that she never relinquished in fall ball. Wallevand started in all 18 games for the Bulldogs this season.
Although she learned quickly that D1 is a big step up from high school lacrosse, Wallevand never doubted her abilities.
“I actually never questioned being able to play at the next level. I was very aware what it was going to take to play at the Division 1 level. During fall ball games, against other schools, I was able to compete against older and more experienced players. That was the defining moment when I realized I could find success in college lacrosse,” Wallevand said in an email.
Once the season began Wallevand wasted no time in showing that she is still an impact player. She earned MPSF Rookie of the Week Honors in Week 1 and just kept rolling to finish the year with 19 goals, 10 assists, 29 points, 51 draw controls, 15 ground balls and 26 caused turnovers.
Not surprisingly, Wallevand is already preparing for 2019.
“I feel I am prepared for when I return in the fall. My coach expressed that she would like to see me work on shooting from different areas of the 8 meter. My gym has a great set up that allows me to work on my shooting and I feel like I am really making progress,” Wallevand said.
She also has set an individual goal of becoming a better draw-taker and a team goal for the Bulldogs to grow closer and stronger.
“I know our team will find success working together as we push each other. I want us to become the best team in the MPSF. We realize our success will come from working together and pushing each other to improve,” Wallevand said.
Wallevand credited her parents for helping her achieve her goals. Wallevand also thanked Tintle has been pushed her to become a better player since she was 12 or 13 years old.
She also had advice for the next generation of OC girls’ lacrosse players getting ready for the next level.
“For the girls that just graduated… a lot of it might seem tough and difficult, and at times it will be. You will get tired, but by the end of each season you will have loved every moment. So just enjoy playing, and enjoy your team,” Wallevand said.