KEOKUK — Mackenzie Springsteen is not one to sit idly by and watch life from the sideline.
So the Mediapolis High School graduate made sure her plate was full during her 1 1/2 years at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois.
Springsteen, who finished her volleyball season on Sunday, was on the basketball court for the Chargers Tuesday in a 65-50 loss to Southeastern Community College at the Cardinal Stritch gymnasium.
While Springsteen was a bit rusty with just one day to prepare, she still scored two points and pulled down two defensive rebounds and provided a spark off the bench for the Chargers.
As it turns out, Springsteen is down to her last few games as a Charger. She plans to graduate on Dec. 16, then transfer to Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant to play softball and volleyball for the Tigers.
In the meantime, Springsteen will give the Carl Sandburg College women’s basketball team everything she has.
“Buckling down now that it’s basketball season and volleyball is officially over. Just moving on to the next sport like I have in past years,” said Springsteen, a 5-foot-5 guard. “It’s a big transition. There’s a lot more running involved, more fast-paced stuff. I need to get in shape more.”
Springsteen, a four-sport athlete at Mediapolis High School, actually was an accomplished soccer player for the Bullettes, but decided to focus on volleyball, basketball and softball at Carl Sandburg.
Springsteen, a defensive specialist in volleyball, helped the Chargers to a 25-16 record and a berth in the Region IV championship match. But the Chargers dropped a four-set match to McHenry County in the title match, ending their quest for a return trip to the NJCAA Division II national tournament in Cedar Rapids.
Not to worry. Springsteen had one whole day to prepare for her season debut on the hardwood Tuesday in front of family and friends.
“It kind of helps because a lot of these girls I played with last year. Some of the girls were also volleyball girls, so we already have a great chemistry. We’re still working on the freshmen and the sophomores and then us volleyball girls that don’t really know the freshmen all that much. We’re still working on that. It’s early in the season,” Springsteen said. “It takes me a while to find my shot. I have to get back in the groove for basketball since I have been practicing volleyball since August. Until then, volleyball trumps basketball. Coach (McKenna) Weaver has been very lenient with us because she also helped us in volleyball, so she understands.”
Springsteen is a vocal leader on the basketball floor, one of seven sophomores on the roster. That includes four players who also played volleyball for the Chargers.
“One of the big leaders. We have a couple other sophomores who are big leaders, too. We try to be good role models for the freshmen to see what we need to do as a team and how to get that chemistry,” Springsteen said. “I try to keep a positive attitude and make them talk and talk about communication. If we’re on defense, I try to tell them where a player is that they might not see. Just mainly communication on my part and telling them where everyone’s at.”
Springsteen, who helped Carl Sandburg reach the national tournament in volleyball last spring, will get a bit of a break next month as she transitions to the NAIA level at Iowa Wesleyan. She plans to pursue a degree in education and has big plans for the future.
Not surprisingly, those plans center around sports.
“I really thought about becoming a teacher since now I have my coaching authorization in Iowa. I plan on teaching and coaching,” Springsteen said. “It’s going to be different. I talked to the volleyball coach over there and she said that they are very young and they need a leader to step up. She thinks that I would be a good one. She’s excited for me and I’m excited to go there.”
Springsteen is excited to be getting closer to home, not only so that her family doesn’t have to travel quite so far to watch her compete, but also so she can watch her younger siblings compete.
“It’s going to be different, but I’m excited,” Springsteen said. “I wanted to be closer to home because I have younger siblings. One of them is going to be in middle school soon. I wanted to be around to watch them play.”
As for basketball, Springsteen said her future in that sport is up in the air at this point. But she hasn’t ruled out giving it a try at Iowa Wesleyan.
After all, Springsteen is not on to sit idly by and watch life from the sideline.
“Maybe. I’m still on the fence about that one,” Springsteen said. “Volleyball is still my No. 1 go-to, but basketball will always have a special place in my heart.”