Timeout with Mackenzie McIlrath

Mackenzie McIlrath’s focus has never wavered during her time at Fort Dodge Senior High.

Yet McIlrath isn’t just a volleyball team member. Or basketball player. Or track athlete. Or softball standout. Or dedicated student.

The Dodger senior is all of the above.

“It’s crucial to set a good example in all aspects of life, because you never know who is watching you — whether it’s younger athletes or classmates,” said McIlrath, a four-sport varsity regular who was recently named an Iowa Basketball Coaches Association academic all-state selection. “Setting that example motivates other people to be respectful, perseverant and dependable in sports, school and future jobs.”

McIlrath has been a chameleon by choice. In a day and age when athletes often specialize in sports or let their academic performances slide, McIlrath has given her undivided attention to each specific season and her classwork without rest.

“I would say if you have a sport that you want to go far in, work on that the most outside of the designated practices…but go out for other sports as well,” McIlrath said. “Being a multi-sport athlete has taught me time management, improved my communication skills, and helped me build new relationships.

“It also doesn’t ever hurt to work on other skill sets in different sports.”

McIlrath was named a first team Iowa Alliance Conference Northern Division selection in volleyball this past fall, then averaged nearly nine points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Dodger basketball squad. She has been a varsity track and softball regular since her days as an underclassman as well.

“My main goal for track this season is to make it to state again in the high jump, but also, in the 400 hurdles this time,” McIlrath said. “As far as softball goes, I think our whole community knows that we plan on (making a run) at that state championship once again (Fort Dodge won the 2021 title, was the 2020 and 2022 runner-up, and reached the semifinals last summer); we all have our minds on the same goal, and are confident in our abilities.”

McIlrath has carried a heavy course load during her time as an active athlete. She sports a cumulative 3.99 grade point average at FDSH, while concurrently carrying a 4.0 GPA at Iowa Central Community College. McIlrath will earn both her high school diploma and Associate of Arts degree this spring before heading to the University of Iowa.

McIlrath has used her time as a Dodger embracing “the underdog mentality that our community is built upon.”

“We aren’t a huge school compared to other schools around Iowa, giving us a mindset that we have nothing to lose,” McIlrath said. “Being a Dodger has also taught me that there are so many people willing to help you with anything you need in class or athletics. I know I’m never alone.”


Vacation destination: Hawaii

People I’d like to have dinner with: My family

It would surprise people that I: Dreamed of being a cheerleader when I was younger

My sports role model: Tory Bennett and Jalen Adams

My everyday role model: My mom and Carsyn

I can’t go a day without: A pink drink from Starbucks

Nickname: Mack

Superstition: dancing and having fun before games

Most heated rivalry: Ames in softball

Favorite road trip: Linn-Mar softball tournament in the vans

What are you listening to right now?: “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw

Go to song: “The Thrill” Wiz Khalifa


Team: Nebraska Volleyball

Athlete: Caitlin Clark

Class: Anatomy

Movie: The Notebook

Binge watch: Suits

Book: “A Court of Thorns and Roses”

Phone app: TikTok


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