This past month, senior softball player Mackenzie Winslow was named a Spartan of Promise, a prestigious award that annually recognizes 10 seniors for outstanding academic achievement and service accomplishments.
“It’s an award that shows that I’ve had an impact at UNCG with the things I care about,” Winslow said in an interview with The Carolinian. “I care about service. I care about leadership, and I just really love UNCG. It’s just a culmination of my experience here at UNCG.”
In addition to her achievements in the classroom, where she holds a 4.0 GPA, and on the softball field, where she helped lead the Spartans to a perfect fall record, capped off with a 14-6 victory over the UNC Tar Heels, Winslow is also president of the UNCG chapter of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
“So, SAAC is the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee,” Winslow said. “Each team has a representative and it’s made of the leaders of the leaders of the athletes. I’m the president so I run meetings and help organize different things we do, like community service or events for our athletes.”
Between all this, Winslow is indeed a very busy woman. With a daily schedule that would give most students nightmares, it’s a small miracle she still has enough time to study, much less sleep.
“On Monday, Wednesday, Friday I will lift in the morning, then I’ll go to rehab (Winslow is currently rehabbing an injured ankle), go to class, get lunch, then have another class then I’ll run straight to practice and then have another class at night. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays we have conditioning at 7 a.m., too. And on top of that there’s SAAC, and I’m also involved in the campus ministry… my planner’s pretty crazy.”
Still, Winslow has managed to keep on top of things thanks to sound time management and a disciplined state of mind. With that being said, Winslow is a senior, and like all seniors, she inevitably feels the effects of senioritis.
“Yeah, I’m definitely feeling it, a little bit. I’m trying to truck through it, but it’s definitely there. It’s definitely lurking.”
But Winslow can’t afford to do too much slacking, even if she’s more than deserving of it. She plans on jumping straight to the Bryan School of Business as a grad student so she needs to maintain that GPA. Spring softball season is also just around the corner, and it’s shaping up to be a special year on the diamond.
“[Going undefeated this fall] is just a lot of momentum going forward,” said Winslow. “I think this will be the strongest team we’ve ever had. We have great team dynamics and it really showed on the field, like being able to beat Carolina 14-6 in our last game of the season. I think there was a lot of experience and confidence gained that will just roll into the season. This is the year I’m expecting the most from us, so I’m excited about that.”
But while Winslow originally came to UNCG to play softball, she discovered there was a lot more to her than playing a sport.
“When I came into college, all I identified as was a softball player. Softball was the only thing I was. But through my time at UNCG, I’ve been develop and be like ‘yeah, I’m a softball player. Softball is something I do. But it’s not entirely who I am.’ So I think the biggest thing I’ve gotten out of my career is developing who I am. Obviously, softball is one of them but there are other things too.”
And now Winslow, once just a student-athlete, will graduate as a Spartan of Promise. It’s a remarkable feat, and an even more remarkable journey. When asked what advice she would give to incoming student-athletes, Winslow gave insight that every college freshman, student-athlete or not, should hear.
“Get involved… You get to meet people outside of your sport, meet people in other sports, which doesn’t happen a lot… Get involved and stay involved. Realize what your passions are and find something on campus that goes along with that. Our campus is so diverse; we have something for everyone. I think it’s finding out what are you all about, maybe outside of your sport, and seeking an opportunity to invest more in that.”