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One on One: Shippensburg’s Chayce Macknair

Photos by Bill Smith/Shippensburg University.

Editor’s note : Recently Hometown Sports Editor-in-Chief Kenny Varner was able to catch up with current Shippensburg cross country phenom and former MIfflin County runner Chayce Macknair and talked about what he has been doing in college both academically and athletically.

HS: How has the transition from high school been for you? 

CM: It has been a relatively smooth transition. I chose a program that had a coach who works well with athletes and responds to their needs. The biggest change for me so far has been my weekly mileage. In high school, I averaged around thirty-five miles a week. In college, I average up to seventy miles a week at times depending on when my next race is.  

HS: How much has Covid-19 effect your first two years? 

CM: Covid-19 has had a pretty big impact on my first two years. I was away from college from March to August after we were sent home last Spring. We also missed our cross country season in the fall which was postponed to the Spring where we had a shortened season. Overall, between my injury and Covid-19, I went fourteen months without racing starting in December of 2019 to February of 2021.  

HS: What has been the biggest obstacle you had to face since coming to Shippensburg. 

CM: My biggest obstacle thus far has been a severe injury that I suffered at the end of my Freshman cross country season (December 2019). I had a really bad stress fracture on my left shin. I ended up missing six months which included my Freshman Indoor Track and Field Season. It was very difficult to come back from that injury and took an additional six months to get back to where I was before the injury again.   

HS: How was your first year of Cross Country? 

CM: My first year of cross country was in the fall of 2019. I was my team’s number one runner in four of my five races. I ended up finishing 11th at the PSAC conference championship which was the highest finish by a freshman in ten years. I had a disappointing end to my season though at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Meet where I missed out on qualifying for nationals finishing 38th.  

HS: Being shut down in the spring of last year due to the pandemic, what did you do when you weren’t able to compete? 

CM: Due to my stress fracture, I was unable to run or bike at the time. I primarily lifted and did strength and mobility work.  

HS: How great of a feeling was it when you were finally able compete? 

CM: It was a good feeling. I first competed at Lock Haven 5k cross country race where I finished first with a lifetime best of over a minute. It felt like I had fourteen months of energy build-up that I was finally able to let out.  

HS: Did you expect to have such a great season this early? 

CM: I was not expecting to have a season this early. I am still very surprised that Division II and Division III athletics are having spring seasons.  

HS: Do you think having that down time helped you heal and get yourself in running shape more than you would during a normal year of competition? 

CM: I definitely get more out of training at Shippensburg than I do at home.  

HS: What has been your best finish so far this season? 

CM: My best finish this season was at our home invitational where I ran 14:30 for the 5k. I broke the meet record by over 30 seconds and hit an NCAA provisional mark in that race and am currently ranked 53rd in the nation in the event among Division II runners.  

HS: How many first places have you gotten? Top 5s? 

CM: I have had nine races thus far this season and have six first place finishes. I finished top five in my other three races as well.  

HS: On the educational side, how has the transition been there as well? 

CM: The educational transition has been very smooth. My college classes have been far easier than my high school classes. I was named a USTFCCCA All-Academic team in the fall of 2019. Additionally, I have maintained a 4.0 GPA and am currently employed in a program where I work with a professor and co-teach a course as a peer anchor.  

HS: Have you decided on a major yet? 

CM: I am majoring secondary education in history/social studies.   

HS: What has been your favorite classes? 

CM: My favorite classes thus far have been physical anthropology, The United States in Vietnam, and general psychology.  

HS: What are your plans for the future athletically and scholastically? 

CM: I plan to finish my degree at Shippensburg and then become a middle school or high school teacher. I plan to become a cross country and track and field coach as well.  

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