PEMBROKE — After falling to Letchworth in the sectional title game last season, the Pembroke softball team believed they had what it took to complete their quest for a championship this time around. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dragons won’t get that opportunity.
“I was super excited for the spring season. I truly believed our team had the chance to do something great,” said Pembroke senior Mackenna Johnson. “After last year’s sectional run, I think everyone on the team was super pumped and excited to do it again.”
Johnson was looking forward to not only making a run toward a title, but doing so with some of her best friends who also happen to be her teammates.
“This spring I was most excited to spend all my time with my team,” she said. “The vibe on the field is always good, softball season always brings the greatest joy for me. I was most excited to feel that feeling again.”
Despite all of the success she experienced as a high school athlete, including back-to-back titles as a member of the Dragons’ girls basketball team, Johnson says she will most miss the friendships she created along the way.
“I created the most amazing bonds and friendships with the girls I played two or even three sports with,” said Johnson. “Being able to spend all your free time with your best friends is the best, I’m going to miss it so much.”
Moving forward, Johnson will attend Niagara County Community College in the fall where she plans to study animal management while juggling two different sports, basketball and softball.
“After those two years I am planning on moving to Virginia to attend Liberty University,” said Johnson about her future plans. “There I can further my studies to receive my bachelors degree in Zoology. I then hope to live in the country, while working in a zoo, hopefully in the bird exhibits.”
Johnson already has her eyes set on the future, but will not soon forget her time spent at Pembroke, especially the time she spent with multi-sport coach Ron Funke, who she says helped her immensely.
“Coach Funke was like a second father to me,” said the Dragons’ senior. “He was encouraging, yet always tough on me. Funke taught me the greatest life lessons, and he was apart of my greatest achievements. I would not be who I am today without Ron Funke.”
Johnson has been a mainstay on the field or court for Pembroke Athletics for the better part of half of a decade. She will be sorely missed by those who root for the green and white.