Meet Lugoff-Elgin's Sprinter and Captain McKenna Phillips

Get to know McKenna Phillips, a senior track and field athlete at Lugoff-Elgin. Phillips signed with Erskine

How did you get involved in the sport and when?
I first was introduced to sprints on field day in eighth grade.  I can remember the exact moment when I got on the line for the first time in a 100m girls' race.  All the girls from eighth grade lined up to race.  When the whistle blew, I started running a beat all the girls in the eighth grade.  I started running cross country and that was not for me. 

What made you decide to commit to Erskine?
I was blessed to be recruited by many great division II schools.  Some, when I was a sophomore in high school.  When I went on my first unofficial visit to Erskine, I got on campus and knew, this was going to be a top contender.  On my second, and official visit, I met the coaches, Coach Drew and Coach Anderson, and my potential teammates and knew, they all wanted me for me.  They wanted me for more than a number.  They wanted me to be a part of their growing program.  I knew this was the right place.  I wanted to be a part of this team that they are building.  They always would check in on me and ask me about more than track.  I was a person to all of them.  As I am a team player and love my teammates, that aspect sold me, the team atmosphere. 

What other choices did you have prior to the decision?
A total of 10 schools had either shown interest or actually offered athletic scholarships.  That is and was a true blessing.  The decision ultimately came down to academics and what college wanted me for me, not a number.  I found that two notable schools, Mars Hill University and Erskine College.  The coaches at both colleges were genuine and never put on a show.  The coaches at both institutions are as genuine and true today as they will be tomorrow. 

How has indoor prepared you for outdoor?
Indoor season is invaluable.  It prepares you for outdoor to be in shape and ready to get on that line in the spring.  Competition is stiff in outdoor, and the season is short.  No matter who you race, you must stay and keep in peak performance year-round.  Indoor season should really be considered a high school sport in South Carolina.  It benefits so many.

What have you experienced and learned over your years in the sport?
I have learned that your teammates can never be replaced or taken for granted.  These teammates will always be your friends on and off the track.  I have learned from teammates that are from different background from me and I learn from them every day. I have learned that if you train with the best, it will make you better.  If you train with those who you are better than, you will never grow.  Getting your doors blow off on a track is humbling, and a lesson. 

I like to train with D1 and other D2 athletes as they will help you get better. Additionally, you must put in the work.  My coach, Charles Proctor, and dad always tell me, what is your competition doing today, and they mean it.  You must train all year for track. It is a perishable skill.  Going out 1 month before a season will not work.   

What is your motivation this season?
I am motivated to make my parents and coaches proud with my actions on and off the track. I am motivated to leave Lugoff-Elgin High School the most decorated girls high school track athlete.

"Track is a rewarding sport.  You can play any other sport and track will help make you better at that other sport.  You need to train year-round if you want to be good or great.  As said before, you must train with those faster and better for your to get better.  Never be afraid to line up against the best and run, they will make you better and stay humble."

What goals do you have? Tell us about your people that support you, how does this look and what does it mean to have this?
First, God be all the glory.  God has blessed me with being able to run fairly quick.  I currently hold all-time records at Lugoff-Elgin High School, I have one more to get.  When I get it, you will know!

Coach Charles Proctor has always supported me.  He disciplines when needed and hugs when needed. Please do not let him know I said that, he is really a softy.  He pushed me to go beyond my own thoughts and pain. Training with him has provided me with lifelong support. Additionally, I have had a great support system with my current and former teammates.  Even though some have gone to college, they still come and support me.  Finally, my mother, father, sister, aunt and uncle, my close cousins and grandparents have been there for me everyday to support me a cheer me on for this sport I love. 

What goals do you have for college?
Goals for track in college, simple, be the best teammate I can be to help the program at Erskine move forward.  I want to win and watch my team win.  Most importantly, get a college education from a great institution like Erskine College. 

Do you have an area of study you are interested in?
I will study at Erskine College with a major in health science and maybe athletic training with the intent to coach track.  I hope to inspire other women athletes to be their best.   

What hobbies do you have?
I have become a TicTok creator. I have one TicTok that has 1.2 million views and climbing. I learned this from one of my best friends, and former teammates, Aly Conyers.  She is currently at the University of California and we chat often. I also enjoy outdoor sports.   

How does practice look now and as the season moves to championship season?
As we move from indoor season to outdoor, I am on the track five days a week as well as the weight room the same.  The weight room is vital as it will allow for muscle build up and fast twitch muscle build up.  I make sure to get in 1 full practice of velocity with drive phase work and then technical workouts.  Going into the season is not the time to try and build endurance or power, that should be done way before the season starts. 

Do you have any leadership roles on your team?
I was voted by my teammates at Lugoff-Elgin High as a sprint captain.  I also try and mentor young girls at Lugoff-Elgin as they try and learn the sport. 

What would you like young athletes to know?
First, your grades!  Most likely, you will not go professional in track but you will be a professional in this society.  GRADES, GRADES, and GRADES are very important.  The very first question every college asked was, what are your grades?  Be ready for that.  Be ready to provide your transcripts to them immediately, they want it.  Do not play around with any college coach, they can sniff out a fraud or college shopper. 

Track is a rewarding sport.  You can play any other sport and track will help make you better at that other sport.  You need to train year-round if you want to be good or great.  As said before, you must train with those faster and better for your to get better.  Never be afraid to line up against the best and run, they will make you better and stay humble.