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Kinzie Thompson excels in classroom, community and on the athletic field

 

By DENNY DYROFF

There are times when many parents look at their teenagers and wish they were doing more constructive things in their lives.

John and Cheryl Thompson, the parents of Mackinzie Thompson, never have had to go through that experience with their daughter.

Almost as soon as she started elementary school, Kinzie Thompson has been heavily involved in playing both field hockey and softball. She also played club soccer for a number of years.

Thompson, who just finished her sophomore year at West Chester East, was First Team All-Ches-Mont in softball this spring. During the fall semester, she was Second Team All-District One in field hockey.

She was a team leader in both sports – on the field and in the statistics. Thompson also has a long career of playing at the club level – and competing in national tournaments — in both sports.

But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Thompson has a very impressive academic CV (curriculum vitae) – GPA of 4.5; Honor Roll (2013-present); Student of the Month (2013, 2014); Creativity Award (2013); Science Award; Outstanding Achievement in English (2013-2014); Principal’s Award (2014); and Presidential Fitness Award (2013-present).

Thompson also has an eye-catching resume of community service work including Crayola Cares (2014), Stop Hunger Now (2015, 2016), Adopt Children for Christmas program (2015, 2016); Volunteer at Pete’s Produce (2015, 2016); Reading with Kids Program at church (2016); and Volunteer at VBS at church (2016).

Thompson, obviously, is as good at time management as she is at athletics and academics.

“I really like both softball and field hockey,” said Thompson. “Which is my favorite? That depends on which season it is. I’m starting to like field hockey more because of its speed.”

Her speed has also been a big asset in softball.

“With Mackinzie’s speed, we want to get her in the line-up,” said East coach Bobby Swier. “She broke the East record for stolen bases with 26 this season.

“Her on-base percentage was .388 and her batting average was .358. Once she’s on, I trust her to get around and score. She’s always a threat whenever she’s on base. She scored 28 runs – the most on the team.

“Last year, she started on JV and then came up and was running for the varsity. She matured physically between seasons and put more muscle on.

“Her speed is also an asset defensively. She started in left field all year. She’s fast enough to track things down out there.”

Thompson brings more than just her physical skills to the Vikings’ softball squad.

“If you watch her, she’s always smiling but, as soon as it’s time to go, she’s a gamer,” said Swier. “She’s a good teammate. I see her continuing to develop as a team leader on and off the field.”

Thompson has been playing softball more than half her life.

“I started playing softball when I was really young – playing T-Ball,” said Thompson. “I began playing club ball when I was eight.

“I play for Exton Millenium’s Under-16 team. We’ve had a good season. We just finished third at a tournament in Delaware two weeks ago and we’ll be going to Nationals (Triple Crown Sports 16U Nationals, Myrtle Beach, S.C.) next month.”

Thompson has also been playing field hockey more than half her life.

“I started field hockey when I was about seven,” said Thompson. “I was 13 when I began playing for the WC Eagles. For the Eagles, I play anywhere on the forward line or as an attacking mid.

“In high school, I’m more of an attacking mid. I don’t like to be a ball hog. I like to pass and set up a goal as much or more than I like to score myself. I never keep track of how many goals I’ve scored.”

East field hockey coach Taylor Shronk, who played hockey at Temple University and Owen J. Roberts High School, appreciates all facets of Thompson’s game.

“She’s just the kind of player who can take advice and give it a go,” said Shronk. “She’s also very scrappy and aggressive and has good stick work. She keeps the ball close on her stick.

“Her vision is pretty incredible. Kinzie does really well at seeing the passing lanes and seeing the shooting lanes. She does a great job of spreading the ball.

“She’s equally good distributing or going to goal – and she has a great shot. Last season, she had the most assists on the team and tied for most goals.

“Kinzie is very team driven. Even as a sophomore playing varsity, she communicates and shows leadership on the field.”

Thompson, who lists field hockey, softball, playing piano, snowboarding and reading as her favorite extracurricular activities, is also an experienced soccer player.

“I played club soccer from a young age also,” said Thompson. “But, I stopped playing soccer when I was 12. I liked the speed of field hockey better.”

Being a talented and versatile athlete is in Thompson’s DNA.

Thompson’s mother, when she was still Cheryl Abplanalp, played field hockey, basketball and softball for Great Valley High School. She played all three sports at Davis and Elkins College, which at the time was NCAA Division I in field hockey and Division II in softball and basketball.

Cheryl then took up team handball and, at age 24, was the youngest player for Team USA at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. That same Olympics marked the debut of boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr., who will fight UFC legend Conor McGregor in August in what is expected to be the most lucrative boxing match ever.

The Atlanta Olympics proved to be a milestone event for Cheryl Abplanalp in another way also.

In 1996, Home Depot sponsored its “Olympic Job Opportunities Program,” which employed more than 100 Olympic athletes in Home Depot stores.

“I worked for Home Depot back then and that’s where I met Cheryl,” said John Thompson. “She was given a job at Home Depot.”

John Thompson played baseball and football at Lakeside High School in DeKalb County, Georgia – a suburb of Atlanta.

Kinzie’s brother Johnathan Thompson, who just graduated from East this month, was the starting quarterback on the Vikings’ football team and starting catcher on East’s baseball team. He will attend Elizabethtown College and play baseball for the Blue Jays.

One of Kinzie Thompson’s goals is to be the second family member to compete internationally for a United States National Team.

“I obviously want to play hockey in college but playing for the national team is also a goal of mine,” said Thompson. “I’ve watched some field hockey games by Team USA and I know playing for that team is something I really want to do.

“I’ve started to think about possible colleges to attend. I want to major in education – leaning toward math and science.

“I also want to have a minor in music. I’ve played piano since I was little and it’s my favorite instrument.”

Thompson’s piano skills have led to her performing solo at New York’s legendary Carnegie Hall at the Golden Key Music Festival – three times.

Since its inception in 2002, the Golden Key Music Festival of the United States has established itself as a major cultural event that attracts young instrumentalists and vocalists from across the United States and other countries.

Its mission is to give young musicians the opportunity to display their talents on some of the most prestigious concert stages in the United States.

“When I’m playing piano, I play a lot of music by Melody Bober and Yiruma,” said Thompson. “My favorite musical artist is George Winston, who is an amazing pianist. I listen to his albums all the time.”

Actually, when Thompson’s athletic and academic days are over, she could probably have a great career as a self-help guide teaching people the art of time management.

 

 

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