Former Northern State University Track and Field stand-out Makenzie Hageman will start competing in the Deaf Olympics in Turkey later this month.
The Watertown native was born deaf but that has never stopped her from excelling.
Growing up, MaKenzie Hageman fell in love with sports just like anyone else – by following the footsteps of an older sibling. Although, standout sprinter was dealt different hand, that never stopped her from competing and finding success on the track.
“Absolutely, an athlete is an athlete. My brother loved running, and I decided to become a runner because of him, and I guess as time went on, I got an email at one time at the USA was requesting me to participate on the track team, and I thought, wow – this is a great opportunity,” 2017 Deaflympics athlete Makenzie Hageman said.
Hageman joined team USA at the 2013 Deaflympics, where she earned a silver medal in the 4×100. Equally important, she loved the experience representing her county.
“We really enjoyed our time there, and it was so much fun. You know, the world games are really focused on fiances, and we are just there because we have a love for our sport – and that’s definitely what we are all about,” Hageman said.
Hageman ran collegiality at Northern State, where she excelled on the track. The sprinter broke the school record in both the 60 and 200 meters, and after graduating, the professional athlete now trains full time with Sanford Power, helping her prepare for the 2017 Deaflympic games.
“Dedication. There is not another athlete that I’ve worked with that is as dedicated as she is. That is what stands out over and above anything else. She is one of the best in the world, and that’s why she is on the way to the Olympics,” Strength and Conditioning Specialist Jesse Haines said.
“Well I think I have learned to be confident in myself. I can do. I know I can do it. I know I am good at what I do, and I want to continue doing it,” Hageman said.
Now with just a week before the opening ceremonies, the South Dakota native has set high goals for the international competition.
“My goal obviously is for now, to continue to train as hard as I possible can, and well, my plan is to make it in the top-three for all the of events that I’m participating in – I will be doing the 100, the 200, the long-jump, and the 400×1,” Hageman said.
The event starts July 18th in Samsun, Turkey. Hageman has to raise all of the money on her own to go as these athletes can’t get sponsors.