Former Weatherford High School student-athlete Mackenzie Lankford made her mark early for the Wildcats upon attending Abilene Christian University and persists as a stalwart of the program.
Lankford enters her third year as a starting guard for ACU, amidst changes and potential changes that could well make the final two years of her career at the Abilene university more exciting than her first two.
With an invite from the Southland Conference in the offing, a decision on the move on Saturday could move ACU into NCAA Division I membership. All sports except football would begin Southland Conference play, and D-1 competition, in the 2013. Prior commitments would forestall SLC play in football until the fall of 2014.
The ACU women's basketball program also has a new coaching crew, headed up by Julie Goodnight, a name Lankford is familiar with getting to know the coach during her recruiting process. Lankford really wanted to play for Goodnight, who was coaching at Charleston Southern in South Carolina at the time, and now will get her wish.
Goodnight is also a familiar face to the area, as she coached at Hardin-Simmons with a stint at Oklahoma State before heading to the Carolinas. Lankford believes Goodnight is taking on a talented team at Abilene Christian and is excited about the new coach and the prospect of the SLC.
The coach will certainly enjoy the talents of Lankford, who wowed the Weatherford faithful for four years at Roo gymnasium and has continued to collect kudos at the next level. Over the past two seasons at ACU, Lankford has amassed numerous records and accolades:
2011-12 (Sophomore season)
— 3rd Team NCAA Div. II All-American
— 1st Team NCAA Division
All-South Central Region
— 1st Team Lone Star Conference
— LSC scoring leader (21.5 pts./game)
— Scored 30 points in four games for seven career 30-point games
2010-11 (Freshman Season)
— 2nd Team NCAA Division II
All-South Central Region
— LSC Freshman of the Year
— 1st Team All-Lone Star Conference South Division
— Second in LSC in scoring
— Led LSC in steals (2.3 steals/game)
— Led team in scoring in 17 games
Lankford has also continued to give back to the Weatherford community and its basketball program. During the summer, she assisted WHS head girls basketball coach Darryn Shearmire at WISD’s annual summer basketball camp.
The ACU Lady Wildcats will kick off its 2012-13 campaign with a home stand against Texas A&M International and UT-Permian Basin on Nov. 10 and Nov. 13, respectively.
Editor's note: WISD's Derik Moore contributed information for this article.