Friday , November 14, 2014 - 1:26 PM
PROVO – Running originally did not fit into McKenzie Weir’s college plans. Weir assumed she put her competitive running shoes in her closest permanently when she decided to attend BYU.
Her focus originally turned to academics and finding a part-time job to occupy her time and pay for college expenses when she was not in class. Everything changed for Weir when the BYU cross country coaches contacted her in the spring and encouraged her to join the team.
It took Weir until the summer to turn the page and write a new chapter in the book on her running career.
“I actually was kind of nervous, which sounds awful,” Weir said. “I’m so glad I choose to run now. I had everything decided and that threw another obstacle in the way. I’m really bad at making decisions, so it took me a while to pin down what I wanted to do. I was on the fence a long time.”
Count BYU as another party that is glad Weir chose to run again.
The former Davis High standout has exceeded all expectations during her freshman season with the Cougars. She earned a Top 15 finish at last week’s West Coast Conference championship meet – her third of the season – finishing 15th with a time of 20:40.
Weir joined the team as a walk-on over the summer. She spent those months training with her old team at Davis High to get ready for the season.
Her efforts paid off. She finished ninth at the Utah Open with a time of 15:11.2 and then placed 15th at the BYU Autumn Classic a week later, finishing in 18:43.4. Seeing her post those back-to-back performances convinced BYU coaches to give Weir a spot on the travel team for the rest of the season.
Weir offered enough evidence that she was more than a typical freshman runner.
“She put her head down and went to work in practice,” said BYU cross country coach Patrick Shane. “And then in competition, she’d do the same. She’d just get out there and just be really even-keeled and just go hit home runs every time she went to race. For a freshman to be able to do that is a little unusual.”
Shane is confident things will only get better for Weir. Given how she has done as a freshman, her potential for the next three seasons seems virtually unlimited at this point.
The best aspect of Weir’s running style, from Shane’s perspective, is her consistency. Weir always finds a way to stay competitive and keep pace – no matter who she is running against.
“She doesn’t stand out in terms of the way she looks when she runs,” Shane said. “What really does it for us is just her go-to-work, determined attitude. When she gets ready and the gun goes off, she’s all business.”
With how she has performed in her first season, Weir has set the bar higher for the seasons ahead. The runner who was not sure she wanted to run any longer feels at home on those rolling grassy courses once again.
Running is back in her blood and she intends to keep it there.
“Looking back and seeing how much I’ve improved, I’m on whole new level now I feel like,” Weir said. “It’s super fun and it makes it all worth it – all the hard work and sacrifice. That’s one of the reasons I run.”
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