Freshman Mackenzie Barnes Pioneers Lacrosse Spotlight: Embracing the Power of Something Different

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Mackenzie Barnes
Midlothian High School freshman Mackenzie Barnes discovered the sport of lacrosse in 2017 when she was in the third grade and now she is one of the premier players in the state. Photos courtesy of Diane Barnes

Sometimes, a different thing can be a great thing.

A prime example is Midlothian High School freshman Mackenzie Barnes and the sport of lacrosse.

While the sport is well-known at the collegiate level, folks like Barnes are working to bring it more into the spotlight at the high school level. Barnes is one of many students across the nation who play the sport – and in her case very well. She has been doing so since her family moved to Midlothian in 2017 when she was in the third grade and decided to try something different.

“I liked it because it was a different sport and activity that wasn’t in our schools and in our area,” Barnes said.

Barnes plays for two teams. Bridge Lacrosse is considered her “city” recreational program because it’s the closest team to her residence. Bridge Panthers is a D3 Varsity division team, which is a part of the Texas Girls High School Lacrosse League and they play other teams in the Dallas area. The team is made up of high school girls from around the south Dallas area.

She also plays for GRIT Lacrosse, a travel club team which has year-round training, camps, and clinics. It is a dedicated Class of 2027 team that travels out of state to compete at high level tournaments/showcases.

“I have traveled to multiple states, and it’s been super fun to play against some of the best teams in the country, which ultimately makes our team stronger,” she said. “I love making memories with my teammates, whether it’s on the field, at team dinners or when we have time to sightsee.

“Lacrosse is extremely popular on the East Coast, and there is so much American history to see and learn. One of my favorite trips was playing at the Naval Academy on the same fields as the Midshipmen, overlooking the Severn River in Annapolis. Also, I always like our yearly tournament in Palm Springs, California located at the same venue as Coachella. Our GRIT team makes the best memories!”

This past summer, she represented Team Texas 2027 in the American Select Lacrosse Tournament held in Delaware.

“Being one of 19 chosen was a huge honor because it was a testament to the hard work and extra hours I’ve dedicated,” she said.

Following up, she was recently invited to the Under Armour 150 that will take place in Maryland in June.

“I was very excited and honored to receive this invitation and look forward to this showcase opportunity,” she said excitedly.

Barnes hopes to play in college, though coaches can’t officially reach out to her until September of her junior year, she said. In the meantime, she would love to see lacrosse become a University Interscholastic League high school sport in Texas.

“I don’t know if there is a push at the moment, but I know the sport is gaining popularity, not only in the DFW area but across Texas in cities like Houston, Austin, and San Antonio,” she said.

Along with hoping to play lacrosse in college, she plans to study in the medical field.

“I like the feeling of helping others and giving back,” she said.
“It (lacrosse) has certainly benefited my life and has given me opportunities that I probably would not have had,” Barnes continued. “This is only because I took a chance on something I thought was “different.”

 

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Rick Mauch
Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and three granddaughters

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