GREENVILLE — Mackenzie Whitaker recently added another item to an already impressive track and field career at East Carolina.
The former West Carteret standout was named to the 2019-20 United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA) Division I All-Academic Team.
To qualify for the USTFCCCA All-Academic Track & Field Team, a student-athlete must have compiled a cumulative GPA of 3.25 and finished the indoor regular season ranked in the national top 96 in an individual event or ranked in the national top 48 (collective listing) in a relay event on the official NCAA POP list provided by TFRRS.org.
Additionally, the Pirate women garnered USTFCCCA All-Academic recognition for the fourth consecutive season after producing a 3.43 cumulative GPA during the 2019-20 school year.
In a career filled with enormous success, Whitaker added the biggest triumph of her career this winter at the American Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships.
The junior captured a Division I league championship with a meet record of 3,954 points in the pentathlon, thanks to a personal record in all five events.
Whitaker, who was a jumper, hurdler and sprinter in high school, is fairly new to the pentathlon, having participated just twice as a freshman, taking fifth in the AAC Indoor Championships in only her second try.
She focused on the long jump as a sophomore, and while struggling with an injury – she suffers with sacroiliac joint pain – and finished second in the long jump at the AAC Indoor Championships and fifth at the AAC Outdoor Championships.
She jumped 19 feet, 3.25 inches and 19-4.75, respectively, at those two meets. In better health, she set an indoor personal record of 19-10 during the pentathlon meet. He previous indoor PR was 19-7.
The long jump has proven to be her best event in college. As a freshman, she took the runner-up spot at the AAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a 19-11 leap.
Whitaker’s top finish in the long jump set her up to win the pentathlon with only the 800 meters remaining. She took second in that event with a personal record time of 2 minutes, 20.92 seconds.
Whitaker began the day with a PR of 9.19 in the 60-meter hurdles to take 10th. She then hit a PR of 5-7 in the high jump to beat her previous high mark of 5-5 and place third
She also had a PR in the shot put with a 33-9.5 push, which was good for ninth in the 18-athlete competition.
Her 3,954 points put her 30th in the nation in the pentathlon. The top-16 point producers were invited to the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships. Arkansas State’s Camryn Newton-Smith grabbed the final spot with 4,071 points.