State cross-country race to feature daughter coaching against mother


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Olivia Scott (left) and Mackenzie Scott pose for a picture ahead of a matchup during the regular season.
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The coaching world will witness an extraordinary showdown as Minerva Lions head coach Olivia Scott goes head-to-head with her daughter, Mackenzie “Mack” Scott, who serves as the head coach for the Northwest Indians. The championship, set to take place at Fortress Obetz and Memorial Park on Nov. 4, promises an exciting competition that transcends the typical coach rivalry.

Olivia Scott has been at the helm of the Minerva Lions’ cross-country team since 2019, following a lengthy tenure as an assistant coach. Her passion for coaching is ingrained, and she’s seen the team grow and succeed under her leadership. However, it’s not just the Minerva connection that makes this story unique; it’s the presence of her daughter, Mack, on the opposing side of the competition.

Mack, a graduate of Minerva High School in 2018, continued her running journey at Youngstown State University, earning recognition as a four-time state qualifier during her time with the Lions. Mack’s return to the high school cross-country scene, this time as a head coach for the Northwest Indians, added a twist of family rivalry to the mix.

But why wouldn’t Olivia just bring her own daughter onto her coaching staff when the opportunity presented itself? The answer for Olivia was easy – she wanted her daughter to make her own way.

“I just felt like with her dad being a principal in Minerva, for many years, me being a coach and the school nurse. I just felt like she needed to make her own way,” Olivia said. “There was a job that opened up and we talked about it, but at the end of the day, she wanted more than just to be underneath my wings.”

As the championship approaches, the contrasting situations of the two coaches become evident. Olivia’s Minerva team is preparing to bring a full squad of runners, whereas Mack has one sole qualifier representing the Northwest Indians – both schools will be competing in the Division II race.

In 2021, Olivia’s Minerva team clinched the state title, and Mack, a former Lady Lion herself, was there to support her mother in a moment of triumph. Now, they find themselves on opposing sides, but the familial bond remains strong, and they’ll be there to root for each other during this year’s championship.

“If my mom could walk away with a state champion team and I can walk away with a state champion individual that would be really cool,” Mack said as she prepares for the upcoming match-up at state.

This season, Olivia and Mack have already had several opportunities to coach against each other, but the State Championship elevates their competition to an entirely new level. Minerva’s girls team, fresh off a regional championship win, is aiming for their second state title in just three years, with Olivia’s guidance leading the way.

In contrast, Mack is in her inaugural year as a head coach with the Northwest Indians, and the odds are stacked in her favor, thanks to her top runner, Madelyn Begert. Begert is considered a top contender for the state title. Although fierce competitors now, Olivia is happy to see her daughter grow into the role she has earned.

“I’m super proud of how much she’s blossomed,” Olivia said. “Knowing what she grew up with and seeing her now, taking those experiences and knowing she’s trying to help other kids. It just makes me super happy.”

Both Olivia and Mack acknowledge the uniqueness of their experience. While they find themselves coaching against each other, they also have the privilege of cheering for each other. Mack’s star runner Madelyn Begert is projected to finish within the top three and possibly seize the individual championship. Olivia will lead her complete Minerva team onto the course, while Mack will be the spirited cheerleader, hoping for her mom’s girls to achieve a top-three finish; if not at the top of the podium.

“I’m going to root like crazy for Maddy to win and on the other hand [Mack] is going to be rooting for my girls to win,” Olivia said.

As the Nov. 4 State Cross-Country Championship at Fortress Obetz and Memorial Park draws near, it’s not just the athletes who will be running their hearts out. Olivia and Mack, mother and daughter, coaches and competitors, will be giving their all, demonstrating the true spirit of sportsmanship, family, and cross-country running.