Mckenzie Duwenhoegger Always Wanted To Be A Gopher

Mckenzie Duwenhoegger, Class of 2019 - Alexandria High School

What are all your personal records? What State Meet competitions have you been in, and what were your results?

My personal records are 44'7 for shotput and 144'4 for discus. I went to State my freshman year in shotput and got 10th, sophomore year in shotput and got 11th, and junior year I went in shotput and discus, I didn't place for discus since I sectored all my throws, and I got 3rd in shotput.

How did you first get involved with track, and what other sports have you done?

I got involved with track around 6th grade through my oldest brother Chase, who did throwing in high school. I realized pretty early that running definitely wasn't it for me, so when he was a senior I would sometimes go to the high school practices. Along with track, I was also in volleyball and basketball.

What is your favorite or most memorable competition you've ever been in?

A stand-out meet I'll always remember is sections my freshman year when I had a big PR in shotput, got second and made it to State. I never thought that I would make it to State that year or do that well.

Tell me a standout non-competition-related memory from your athletics career.

One of my favorite memories from when I first started lifting in middle school was always listening to oldies with my oldest brother on our way to the weight room at 5 am. There was always the same 5 of us there that early in morning, and I was by far the youngest one there.

Who are some of your favorite athletes to compete against?

I love to compete against my teammates, especially Mya Lesnar. We definitely push each other to do better yet we are usually laughing or goofing around too.

Who are some people that have been most helpful to you in your athletic career, and how have they helped you?

Meghan Orgeman and Mike Empting have helped me immensely as they worked with me in the weight room, where I can credit a lot of my success to. Also Josh Blaschko and Ty Granning who have both been great coaches for throwing. Along with all my coaches over the years from volleyball and basketball.

Tell me a little bit about the team culture at Alexandria, in particular the throwing events where your school has been a lot of success recently.

I think our culture definitely feels like family, we are always all cheering for teammates even when we are pushing each other. I'd say we're also a very hard working team overall, we love to compete and win. We also have a strong culture in throwing, we have a lot of traditions, and every year the group is a good mix of work hard when we need to, but we have fun and joke around too.

Who might we find cheering for you at competitions? 

My parents come to pretty much every single competition and sporting event I have, and I'm sure they are always yelling and cheering for me even though I've learned to tune it out. My brothers also come to games or meets when they can. My very favorite "fan" is my sister Nicole, she loves to come watch me play sports and brings her pom-poms to every game.

What is a challenge, or challenges, you have had to face as an athlete?

I think especially for track there's the challenge that you have to throw well on meet days. You have to be able to not scratch every attempt, and throw as well as you can because that's when it matters. This has really been a challenge for me for big meets like sections and State, and it's almost completely a mental challenge. I try to keep working on this as I get older, more confident, experienced, and more mentally strong and calm.

What are your main goals for this track season?

My main goals are to make it back to State in both events this year and hopefully make podium in both. Also it's always a goal to PR, so hitting at least 45 ft in shotput and 145 ft in discus.

What are you and your teammates looking forward to the most this year?

I think for my other senior teammates and myself, we are just looking forward to enjoying our last high school season/sport. Obviously we want to be successful, but I think it's more important to have fun and soak it all in this season.

Tell me a bit about your recruiting process and how you decided to attend the University of Minnesota.

I've I always wanted to be a Gopher since I was little, so being able to go there as an athlete has been a dream come true. I loved everything about the U- the coaching staff, the facilities, the team and its family feel, the big school and city, and it's nice to be a just a couple hours from home. I am so excited to be able to rep my home state and compete in track.

Do you have any rituals, routines, or superstitions either on or off the track?

Yes! I am so superstitious it isn't even funny. Every meet day I eat oatmeal for breakfast, wear my lucky sports bra (that I have worn for every game/meet 9th-12th), the whitest socks I can find, the same outfit for every meet, and I eat a peanut butter and honey sandwich and apples. Also before every throw I do the same little shake out routine.

When not doing anything track-related, what might we find you doing?

Prior to this, I did a lot of basketball and volleyball, along with that I am usually working out, napping, hanging out with my friends or sister. In the summer I also like to go out on the lake and having bonfires with my family.

What advice would you give to younger athletes, or athletes just starting out in track?

Always work hard, be grateful for everything you are given and the opportunities you have, don't take it for granted, and make sure to have fun.

Do you have any specific throwing advice or tips that you would like to share?

One of the biggest tips that isn't physical is just to be patient, it takes time and hard work for the outcomes and for things to really come together. A lot of drills may seem boring, and there's lots of hard and bad training but it's all worth it in the end.  

Tell me one bizarre fact about yourself.

I can't go a day without coffee, I drink it like there is no tomorrow.