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IN THIS BUSINESS, YOU MEET THOUSANDS OF STUDENT-ATHLETES FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE WITH INTRIGUING STORIES.
Well, Aldine's Mackenzie Jijon could be the Most Interesting Person in all of Aldine ISD.
The senior is a four-year letterman in athletic training. A trainer? Yes.
If you have ever met an athletic trainer in high school, they are some of the most hard-working kids in the school. But wait, there is more.
"When I would go to watch school sports as a student, I would watch the trainers working really hard and taking care of the injured athletes," Jijon said. "As soon as I saw that, I thought to myself, this is what I want to do. Like, for the rest of my life. I'm going to study it in college and my ultimate goal is to be an NFL trainer."
Okay, interesting, but it gets even better.
When she's not filling water coolers and making ice packs, Jijon heads to Mazeikas Elite Gymnastics where she is a Level 9 gymnast. She has already been offered college scholarships for gymnastics.
"I've been doing it at an elite level for 14 years," she said. "Yes, I miss some practices for my athletic training duties because of my gymnastics practice and training, but I never miss a game."
Even at her gym, she's always ready to jump into action.
"If I have a teammate who is injured, I can give them some advice on how to get back on the mat," she said. "I've always kind of been the mom of the group, always taking care of my friends.
I can tape an ankle or wrist really quick for someone before gymnastics practice if I need to."
Jijon also holds a job.
"I coach the little ones at my gym too," she said. "I loved my coaches when I was that age.
"I always prioritize school first, though. I go to school, then to gymnastics, then to work, then home to do homework and then I just repeat the process."
Aldine head trainer Kelly Smallbeck added, "Mackenzie is awesome. She is incredibly consistent and if you need something done, that is who you go to. She has a passion for training."
With seemingly every minute of her day accounted for, she still finds time for another passion.
"My dad always rode motorcycles, and he would just put me on the back of them," she said. "I'm really into motor sports strangely enough, and I want to get my motorcycle license."
Okay, so a future NFL trainer, who can do a double-back flip while riding a motorcycle.
I dare you to find me someone more interesting than that.
Aldine Girls Basketball
Coach David Reukert took over the Aldine High School girls basketball program a year ago as he tries to build the stable in year two. He has a few pieces that should help Aldine get in the district win column.
Junior Darria Haynes will be the go-to scorer. Haynes earned first-team, all-district honors with several double-digit scoring outings last season. Brooklyne Cook is a beast in the paint and can clear rebounds with anyone in the district.
The spark-plug on defense is Brooke McCoy, who takes charges, sets screens and also grabs boards for Reukert.
Other names to remember include Destyni Gordon, Keiry Berrios, Briarra Simpson, Laryn Brown and Melanie Umanzor.
He says the keys to the season are "staying healthy, creating turnovers, limiting turnovers and rebounding on the defensive end". If that is accomplished, the 'Stangs will be competitive and pull out some wins.