Fechter’s Days Are ‘Pretty Packed’
By Mason Kelley
For any student-athlete, life is hectic. Between school and practices alone, their calendars are quickly filled.
But there’s busy, and then there’s McKenzie Fechter. The gymnast is working to make her senior year her best season. She has class. She is the chairperson of the Pac-12’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Oh, and she recently started an internship in Washington’s athletic department.
“The days have been pretty packed,” Fechter said with a smile. “That’s the life of a student-athlete.”
Her days start at 6 a.m. and she often doesn’t return home before 8 at night. With three events to train for – bars, beam and floor – and NCAA reform legislation to study, Fechter forces herself to focus on one thing at a time.
She compartmentalizes her life to keep things manageable. When she is at practice, gymnastics receives her undivided attention. When she is in class, she shifts from athlete to student. Each part of her day is an attempt to “focus on what is at hand.”
“At times I feel overwhelmed,” she said, “but I try to put everything I have into everything I do.”
The days are long. They are packed. But Fechter makes the most of every opportunity. It is her final year at Washington. She doesn’t want to waste a minute.
“My goal is to go out with a bang,” she said.
After dealing with injuries the past two seasons, the Huskies’ captain feels focused, healthy and primed for a big senior year.
“I feel like I’m setting myself up to be able to leave that legacy this year,” she said. “This year, so far, I’ve been very healthy with everything and have been able to go in and put the work in.
“It’s kind of cool, because all of the hard work, all of the extra time, has finally paid off.”
She not only wants to leave a legacy through her performances this season. She also wants to make sure the Huskies are set up for future success. A natural leader, Fechter is the first person to cheer on a teammate, while also understanding when it is necessary to deliver a little tough love.
It is her ability to lead that landed her in SAAC. She got involved as a freshman. Picked by her peers, she now serves on a committee of Pac-12 schools and will head to Washington D.C. after the Huskies’ Jan. 16 meet at NC State for a meeting of the five power conferences to discuss NCAA reform.
Fechter is one of 15 students selected to be the voice of collegiate athletes across the country.
“It’s a really cool feeling and it’s a really huge honor to know people look to me as that kind of a leader,” Fechter said.
As the days dwindle in her college career, Fechter is focused on making an impact. She wants to be able to leave something behind as she moves forward. Each challenge she takes on is an opportunity to do something that will be remembered after she graduates.
“Whether it’s in academics, whether it’s as a student-athlete in general, whether it’s on the gymnastics team, I want to leave a legacy when I walk out the door,” she said.