NIWOT — Niwot athletic director Chase McBride called Mackenzie Fidelak a once-in-a-lifetime kid.
High praise indeed.
All the hard work that Fidelak has put in on the volleyball court, the track, in the classroom and as an overall leader at Niwot has finally paid off ... big time. Her application for admission to Stanford was accepted and on Monday and she gave her verbal commitment to play volleyball for the Cardinal next fall. She will make it official on signing day in November.
"It is nice to finally be done with the process. I've been doing it for so long, talking to colleges, so it's nice for that to all be over," said Fidelak, who also was considering Washington, Wisconsin, Virginia and Northwestern. "I'm just really excited to have this opportunity, I would have never thought that this would happen and I'm grateful to have this opportunity."
And while Fidelak had long since made up her mind, the pressure of having to go out and perform with the idea that someone was always watching is now gone.
"It was never really something that I would focus on, especially during club season at tournaments and stuff. My parents would always tell me not to focus on the college coaches that were watching.," she said. "It's nice to not have that pressure now, but it was never really an issue for me in the past."
And the numbers bear that out.
Fidelak, whose senior season starts next week when the defending Northern League champs host Thompson Valley (Tuesday) and Silver Creek (Thursday), has a remarkable 774 kills in her first three seasons wearing the green and white with a off-the-charts .329 hitting percentage. Defensively she has a career 536 digs and over 180 blocks.
Stanford volleyball — the defending NCAA champions are currently ranked No. 1 in the country — are getting a gem.
But what about Stanford track?
Fidelak, who has excelled for the Cougars as an all-state 400 runner and a hurdler, doesn't think that being a two-sport college athlete is going to be in the works.
"I really wish I could do track, but I'm not really sure time-wise I am going to be able to fit it in," Fidelak said. "There is a girl there now on the team (Jenna Gray) that is a really good javelin thrower that is doing that, but unfortunately the events that I do would require a little bit more training and doing the workouts with them, so I don't know if it is going to work out. Which is unfortunate, because I really love track."
Fidelak, who currently has a 4.3 grade point average, would like to study psychology and marketing with the hopes of pursuing a sports career in either or both fields.