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Jill Barry

While many seniors at HHS will be stressing to figure out their college plans this fall and winter, senior
Maryalice McKenna will be free of this stress. She already knows she will be
attending North Carolina State University in the fall of 2012, playing her
favorite sport, soccer, at a division one-college.

McKenna has been preparing for this
challenge all her life, beginning to play soccer at age five and competing on
numerous club and town teams. A few of these teams additional to high school
level include a futsal team (a 5 vs. 5 South American Indoor Soccer Game played on a basketball court with only kickins), a
Regional Olympic Development Team (ODP), and the Azzurri College Team.

“I look at it as the more you play
the more prepared you are for college,” McKenna said when asked about the
pressure of all the different teams she is committed to.

NC State was a perfect match for
McKenna in many ways. “I really liked the idea
of a big D1 school because it has always been my dream to play soccer at a high
division. NC State has a beautiful campus and soccer facility and everyone on
the team was very nice.”

Along with the favored characteristics listed, the athlete is also receiving a
partial scholarship. Mrs. Kathy McKenna stated, “She is anticipating receiving both an athletic and an academic
scholarship from NC State. Although her “package” is called a partial
scholarship, NC State’s tuition is much less overall than any other colleges
Maryalice was looking at.”

After NC coaches viewed McKenna’s
GPA and SAT scores she was given a preliminary acceptance. She is considered a
verbally committed soccer student-athlete which means she can no longer speak
to other college coaches and she will officially apply to NC State for early
action in the fall of 2011.

A huge aspect of the NC State
requirements includes offseason training and workouts. Being a division one
school, the preparation will most definitely be extensive. In order to prepare,
McKenna took this past summer to get in great shape and push herself to meet
the school’s expectations of her the following year.

“I have a slight
idea based on talking to other members on the team and I know it is very
challenging and I will have to work hard to be prepared to meet the
requirements,” she stated with a firm tone referring to the offseason-required
training.

Her mother, however, has confidence that she will not have any trouble making the
transition from high school to college level sports. Along with playing two
other varsity HHS sports, “Maryalice
works out at ABT and runs religiously every day if she does not have practice.
She has done this her whole life, so the transition to D1 soccer, I feel, will
be fine. I consider Maryalice one of the most dedicated athletes I have ever
seen and I am very proud of her work ethic.”

Her mother also elaborated on what
makes her daughter stand out in her eyes. She said “Maryalice has a ‘never give
up’ attitude towards her life which includes her studies, her sports, and
even her relationships. She is a hard worker and always tries her best no
matter what the test or prize is.”

Having a deep passion for the sport, McKenna is
willing to devote her time to all of these teams as well as the preparation for
her new team in order to strive to become a better player. She expressed, “It’s
been a passion of mine since I was little and I couldn’t imagine my life
without it.”

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