May 1 Burger King Outstanding Student Athlete: Penn's Mackenzie Joecken


Penn coach Beth Zachary uses five words to describe Kingsmen senior Mackenzie Joecken -- The life of the party.

"If you just watch, anybody that comes to our games, you'll see her at some point dancing," says Zachary. "She really likes to talk in umpire voices and imitate characters from movies."

The gems of the Joecken repertoire are the umpire impressions -- an especially hoarse "Foul ball!" is Zachary's favorite -- and quotes from Rebel Wilson's Fat Amy character in 'Pitch Perfect.'

"I've been shot by flying Mexican food!" Joecken shouts at an afternoon practice.

For all the laughs, Joecken knows when to be serious. The first baseman and pitcher is the team's best all-around player, with a .564 batting average and a 0.99 earned run average.

In last week's matchup with No. 1 Marian, Joecken hit not one but two home runs as Penn handed the Knights their first loss of the year.

"We haven't beaten Marian in two years," says Joecken, who also pitched in relief and earned the win in an 11-8 eighth inning victory. "We really wanted to beat them. We just wanted to go out and show the NIC what we're capable of this year."

"Her humor is a huge asset to us," Zachary says. "It helps keep us calm in certain situations. But she also knows when to turn on the intensity. You can't teach a kid how to have a personality that works and how to lead others."

Next year, she will take her unique blend of humor and talent to Division 1, playing for Cleveland State. But not before enjoying her final season at Penn.

"It's high school softball," Joecken says. "You want to go out there and have fun. You're never going to get to experience this again."

A little perspective from the Kingsmen's court jester.

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