|• Summer 2003||Magazine Archive & Search • Muhlenberg Home|
Over the course of his four-year varsity letterwinning career at Muhlenberg, Cameron amassed a combined (singles and doubles matches) record of 88-57-2. His senior year proved to be his most successful as he posted a 22-5 combined record; 11-2 in singles and 11-3 in doubles, respectively. Along with doubles partner, Jeff Kraft ’05, the elder Parke was able to reach the Centennial Conference doubles semifinals. Three years prior, Cameron and Robbie Richman ’01 played in the tournament’s doubles championship match.
As a double major in business administration and political science, Cameron takes balancing his studies and sport seriously. “It’s very tough and it really requires an enormous level of discipline, focus and desire. Tennis is a sport that is very physically demanding on your legs, and it’s hard to study when you feel physically drained. But you just have to bite the bullet and take the punishment because you have to in order to succeed in both arenas.”
The Bruce Springsteen fan spends countless hours in the library, even after returning from matches late at night. While it may seem like a difficult task to balance work, practice and match play, Cameron brilliantly mastered it and managed to maintain his love of the sport and his teammates.
Along with classmates Brad Scheller and Matt Fleissig, Parke has etched his name in the history of men’s tennis at the College. Over the course of the past four seasons, Fleissig, Scheller and Parke’s 37 wins placed them second on the all-time win list– behind the seniors who played from 1939 – 1942, who tallied 42 wins and nine losses.
Mackenzie Parke may not be the loudest person on the court or in the classroom; however, she leads by example and her competitive nature. Like her brother, Mackenzie has managed to achieve athletic and academic success in her years at Muhlenberg. Mackenzie was the first freshman woman since 1989 to play at the first singles position and was named to the All-Centennial Conference first team for singles and doubles (with partner Jennifer Chung ’02). In her second year, Mackenzie and her teammates shared the CC Championship with Washington. This title was the Mules’ first since 1993. “We pulled together as a team and worked incredibly hard to win that championship,” Mackenzie reflects.
With a total of 56 combined wins in spring dual matches, Mackenzie ranks fourth on the all-time list. For the 2003 season “Mack Attack”– a nickname she earned in high school – played third singles and recorded 10 wins and four losses. In what was perhaps the most impressive streak of the season, Mackenzie was able to reverse her 0-3 singles record with 10 straight wins. Mackenzie’s aggressive style of play was a part of this turnaround; however, she attributes it to her improved mental toughness. “I tend to have a slight hot head when I play and get frustrated easily. This past year I worked on that and improved. Tennis is such a much mental game. You could have great skills and be in excellent shape, but without a mental game, you won’t get anywhere.”
Mackenzie’s mental toughness was particularly exhibited in the Mules’ toughest match of the season against nationally ranked Salisbury. With the match tied 4-4 and her match determining the outcome, Mackenzie had split sets with her opponent; which called for a third set. Parke won easily, 6-0. Head Coach Linda Andrews recognizes this young, yet mature leader’s abilities. “Mackenzie’s greatest contribution to the team is her dedication to the sport, commitment to the team and loyalty to the coach. She is an excellent tennis player and a remarkable leader,” commented Andrews.
When not on the courts, in the classroom, or working at Java Joe’s (the campus coffee bar), Mackenzie, like her brother, can often be found in the library. As a double major in economics and political science, and the secretary for the Class of 2004, Mackenzie thrives on a busy schedule, for then she truly feels she is accomplishing the goals she set out for herself. “I love every minute of everything I do, or else I wouldn’t do it,” she says. “I just try to manage my time as best as I can and keep a good schedule and try to stick to it as best as I can.”
Wherever Cameron and Mackenzie may venture after Muhlenberg College, they have managed to “park” themselves as an integral part of the community with their endless passion, persistence, poise, power and practice in all aspects of their collegiate careers. Simply put, that is perfection.
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