Student-Athlete Spotlight: Mackenzie Shaver

Mackenzie Shaver isn’t afraid of going against the grain. An eighth-grade student at New Century Middle, Mackenzie excels in wrestling, a sport traditionally not the domain of girls and women. She started wrestling in El Paso, Texas, where she lived before moving to Moore County.

Now in her fourth year of hitting the mat, Mackenzie appreciates the support provided by her teammates as she travels a new road.

“My teammates are great,” she said. “They allow me to enjoy the sport.”

Along with wrestling for New Century — on an otherwise all-boy team — she participates for the North Carolina Wrestling Factory, located in Carthage.

“Everybody at the Factory is really nice,” Mackenzie, who has totaled 40 wins and 29 pins, said.

Mackenzie got her first taste of wrestling during COVID.

“I just fell in love with the sport,” she said.

Her development reached new heights at the NXT LVL Training Center in El Paso. A wrestler in Texas, Remington LaFlamme, continues to influence Mackenzie.

“She really pushes me to be my best,” Mackenzie said. “I met her at a tournament. She helped me love the sport.”

LaFlamme won state wrestling championships in 2021 and 2022. An academic standout, she’s also a choir soloist.

Like LaFlamme, Mackenzie doesn’t only shine as a wrestler. She enjoys being in the classroom — science is her favorite subject — and is active in cheerleading.

“I just finished cheer a few weeks ago,” Mackenzie said. “It was a good experience.”

Moving from one place to another can challenge any youngster. Mackenzie’s coming to Carthage was no different.

“It was a culture shock,” she said. “It was way different from what I was used to. In terms of wrestling, it’s been a great experience.”

Next year, she’ll wrestle for Union Pines High, where a girls team is a recent addition.                         

Not the only member of the Shaver family who wrestles, Mackenzie has a pair of siblings active in the sport. Her younger sister, Natalie, was a runner-up her first year competing. Randall Shaver, who is in seventh grade, is also a wrestler. According to, he has a 36-24 overall record. More than half his wins have come via pins.

To nominate a middle or high school student-athlete for this series, please email [email protected].

Feature photo: Mackenzie Shaver (left) and Natalie Shaver. Contributed photo.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel reporter Dave Lukow. Dave has been honored as both a lyricist and screenwriter. Among other publications he’s contributed to are the Buffalo News, JD Journal, Beckett Hockey, Seminole Player’s Life, Poker Pro, Walmart World, and All In.

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