Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Lisette Maciel’s family, from left, David, Rosa and Francisco watch her sign her National Letter of Intent to attend CSU Stanislaus to run cross country and track.
First Lissette Maciel tried soccer.
Then she played basketball before she gave track a shot and then ran hurdles and sprints.
Finally, she settled on long distance running, a sport in which the Madera High senior did so well that she earned an athletic scholarship from California State University, Stanislaus. She signed her National Letter of Intent on April 3 in the MHS cafeteria.
“I grew up in Madera and I think it really had an impact on me,” Maciel said. “I’ve always just seen people working so hard here in Madera. It’s just one of those places where everyone has a goal and they work really hard in order to achieve them. I’ve learned to be like that also, I think it’s important to have that attitude.”
Maciel, 17, grew up among two younger brothers and her older sister. Her father worked in the fields while her mother was a homemaker. Sports began early for Maciel.
“My dad was really into soccer so I played in elementary school,” Maciel said. “I later played basketball, but I wasn’t very good. I didn’t get any playing time, so it wasn’t very fun.”
She experimented with different events before she found her calling — long-distance running.
“When I started running in eighth grade, it was mostly sprints,” Maciel said. I even tried hurdles but that didn’t work out either. Freshman year I joined cross-country and after that, I became a long-distance runner.”
Her Madera High cross-country coach, Alicia Brown, said Maciel’s determination to be the best could take her anywhere.
“Getting to know her has been great,” Brown said. “She’s always friendly and always willing to go out and do whatever you ask of her. She’s the kind of athlete that has this spirit that pushes her to want to be the best. She may not have the fastest time out here, but she’s willing to work. She’s not afraid of the hurt. She’s not afraid to push. That’s the kind of athlete you respect.”
Maciel focused on the mile run and the 5K race as both a track and cross-country athlete.
Maciel will end her senior year with a 4.1 grade point average that includes four advanced classes. Not only does she hit the books, she volunteers her time at various clubs at Madera High. She’s a member of the California Scholarship Federation, which provides students with scholarship opportunities and also serves as the president of the Block M club, which is a varsity sports club at MHS.
“I just enjoy interacting with people and finding ways to give back to the community,” Maciel said. “Block M has allowed me to meet people from different sports and just see how they train and do other stuff. We also do community service with them so it helps us bond a little more.”
Her ability to excel both in athletics and academics is a testament to her hard work, Madera High track coach Russ Stanford said.
“She’s definitely a team player, she works really hard,” Stanford said. “She leads by example; it’s the way she carries herself. Younger kids watch her. She’s a leader.”
Maciel is pleased as she prepares for her post high school career.
“I’m really excited,” Maciel said. “I think that the training I do this summer will kind of put me where I need to be. I may go up and train with my new coach maybe for a little bit. I’m just really excited to improve my time. I know they have a really good and fast team and I think that will help me push myself.”