Over the next few weeks we will be looking at the student athletes who are in contention for the York News-Times Female and Male Athlete of the Year Award. In the weeks leading up to the announcement of the two winners, there will be features written on the five male and five female student-athletes that are in the discussion to win the award. The awards will be presented later in June. The only criteria is that the athlete competes in three sports during the high school season.
MCCOOL JUNCTION - McCool Junction freshman McKenna Yates took very little time adjusting to the varsity level of competition.
Just three months into her initial season, Yates and her Mustang teammates won the Class D State Cross Country Championship. She was an instrumental part of that title run.
Whether running through the hills, on the basketball court or the track, Yates established herself as one of the top three-sport athletes in the York News-Times coverage area.
In the fall she competed in nine cross country events earning top 10 finishes in eight.
Her best was fourth at the McCool Junction Invite in October at Camp Kateri, the Mustangs’ home course.
Yates helped McCool win the district title at Kateri, too, with an eighth place finish and a week later was 24th out of 121 runners in the Class D state field. McCool edged Ainsworth by one point 41-42 for the team title.
On the basketball court Yates proved to be an offensive threat from just about anywhere on the floor.
She scored a season high 31 points against the Harvard Cardinals on January 12 and led York News-Times stats with 17 points per game. She shot 40% from the field; 34% to lead the area in 3-point shooting and was solid at the line at 62%.
Yates scored in double figures in 18 of 21 games and earned Crossroads Conference first team and all-state honorable mention in the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star. She was also a York News-Times All-Area selection.
When the weather started to warm up in the spring, Yates solidified herself as one of the top track and field athletes in the area.
Her high jump season PR of 5-2 led the region and was the third best Class D leap in the state this season. Yates also excelled in the 400 with the second best time in the area, a clocking of 1:01.99.
She qualified in both the high jump and the 400 for state and was also part of two Mustang relays; the 4x100 and the 4x400. She cleared 4-11 in the high jump at state and brought home a seventh place medal.
She was 11th in the 400 meters clocked at 1:03.09.