Miller placed No.1 on MPSF all-academic team

Mackenzie Miller and six other UAA gymnasts were named to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation’s All-Academics team, the fourth most of the colleges in the conference. Photo credit: Skip Hickey

After the conclusion of the 2017-18 gymnastics season, it was announced that six of the 14 women on the UAA gymnastics team were awarded the honor of being selected to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation 2018 Women’s Gymnastics All-Academic Team.

36 gymnasts from the conference made the honor of the All-Academic team. With six honorees, UAA had the fourth most on the list, behind Sacramento State who qualified 10 women and a tie between San Jose State and Seattle Pacific who both qualified seven.

In order to qualify for the All-Academic team, a student-athlete must carry a 3.0 or higher cumulative GPA, be in at least her second season, and compete in at least 50 percent of meets.

Of the Seawolves’ six, Mackenzie Miller (4.00) and Madeleine Arbuckle (3.94) lead the team, followed by Kennedy Green (3.81), Kaylin Mancari (3.48), Kendra Daniels (3.36), and Kierra Abraham (3.31).

“I am working towards a bachelor’s of science in environmental studies and a business administration minor. I chose this degree because I am interested in attending law school to practice environmental law,” Arbuckle said.

Miller is an accounting major.

“I haven’t decided exactly what I want to do post-graduation. I’m finally starting to get into more classes that are directed towards my major, and I’ve really been enjoying them,” Miller said.

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Keeping a 4.0 and competing in a Division I sport may seem like a daunting task, but it’s nothing that Miller isn’t used to.

“Balancing school and gymnastics has been something I’ve had to do my whole life. I learned how important time management was at a very young age,” Miller said, “School and gymnastics have always been top priorities in my life, so making it work, in both areas, has been my focus.”

This balancing act between school and sports is a very normal thing that most of the gymnasts have to participate in.

“At this point I think it would be weird to not have a full schedule and constantly have to prioritize things,” Arbuckle said.

The real struggle that student athletes face is having less time during the week to finish school work when they’re already physically exhausted.

“Pre-season and during season are the toughest times for sure, due to our heavy schedules and the exhaustion that comes with our longer workouts, which makes getting into the homework zone a challenge sometimes,” Arbuckle said.

There isn’t much time to stress for these athletes. Miller added that her day is usually filled back-to-back.

“In a typical day, I’ll have a morning class before heading to practice. During season, our practices last three to four hours, so I’ll spend quite a bit of time at the gym during the day,” Miller said. “I’ll usually have some time before my next class starts, so I make sure I use that time to work on any schoolwork I may have. After my afternoon class, I’ll head home, relax and finish up any homework I still have.”

As of now, the gymnasts are finally out of season and vigorously studying for the finals to hold onto those high GPAs.