ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Mazzie Melaney runs, shoots and kicks Fremont to victories

Sunday , July 15, 2018 - 5:15 AM

Mazzie Melaney tried out for the Fremont High girls soccer team as a ninth-grader and didn’t make the team. She wasn’t happy about it, but her parents weren’t about to let her wallow in that before basketball season.

So Melaney joined the cross country team.

“It’s kind of funny, I’m happy that I didn’t make (the soccer team) because now it’s opened up my interests in running more,” Melaney said. “At first I was kind of mad and I did not want to do it, but after my first meet I really loved it, so I said ‘OK, this won’t be too bad.’”

She made the soccer team the year after and played three years. Ironically, though, she’s heading to Utah Valley University this fall to run cross country and track. 

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But once fall ended, it was basketball season — and then it was suddenly spring track season. For three years, Melaney played four sports at Fremont, on top of the normal, busy schedule for a high school student. She’s the Standard-Examiner Female Athlete of the Year for the 2017-18 school year.

“I learned how to work hard and to get things I had to work hard for it. That’s probably the biggest thing I got from it,” she said.

After soccer practice in the fall, she would change into running clothes and join the cross country team at meets. She took seventh at the 6A state meet last year while playing as a starter on the Silver Wolves soccer team, which had a winning overall record (7-6-3), but missed the playoffs by one point.

The fall sports season could get overwhelming at times, she said, but she didn’t want to quit anything because she knew it would pay off.

Her favorite moment of the school sports year (there were plenty to choose from) was when Fremont’s girls basketball team ripped through Region 1 and the 6A state tournament field to win the state championship.

“It was weird, crazy, I wouldn’t say it was unexpected but I was a little, ‘Wow, we’re doing good, winning all those games,’” she said.

Melaney started at point guard and helped guide a team with plenty of experience and young talent. It was in the quarterfinals against Riverton when she played perhaps her biggest role.

The Silverwolves (of Riverton, not to be confused with the Fremont Silver Wolves) led by double digits early in the game, but Fremont came back and won on a Karlie Valdez running layup with mere seconds remaining.

In the second half, Melaney attacked the basket and went to the free-throw line eight times. She made all eight. The Silver Wolves got past Westlake in the semifinals and Bingham in the finals to win the championship.

At the Region 1 track and field meet, Melaney won both the girls 800 and 1600 meters. A week later at the state championships, she took third in both events.

For someone who excelled in both soccer and basketball, competitive team sports with a win-lose scenario, Melaney eventually found herself particularly drawn to running.

“I like the feeling of races. It’s a hard mental sport and you have to work so hard at it and you feel good when it pays off,” she said.

You can reach prep sports reporter Patrick Carr at pcarr@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickcarr_ or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/patrickcarr17.

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