UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | January 27, 2023

Bird fights through life’s toughest loss

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A tragedy over the summer has had an effect on the  Athlete of the Month. 

Makenzi Bird, an outside hitter for the Dixie State University women’s volleyball team, has been named Athlete of the Month. 

Bird is a humble, motivated and spirited player, head coach Robyn Felder said.

“Her humbleness is what makes her so special,” Felder said. “She is not going to be in the headlines after a game, but she is an important part of this team.”

Bird’s labels include a playmaker, great cheerleader and clown by her coach and teammates. 

“You know when Makenzi is cheering for you,” said libero Alex Anderson, a sophomore biology major from Prescott, Ariz. “She is positive about everything. Even if she is having the worst day, she doesn’t show it.”

Bird had arguably one of the worst days of her life over the summer when her little brother passed away after suffering from an allergic reaction.

“It was weird to see Bird sad because she is always so happy and positive and the one laughing,” Anderson said. “She wasn’t sad for long, though. She seemed focused and determined to be her best on and off the court.”

After the tragedy, the team united around her and got to know Bird in a different way.

Bird has turned her sorrow of the loss of her brother into positive energy on the court, Felder said.

“Not everyone can overcome something like that. During the whole time she was her same positive self,” Felder said. “Her game got so much better after her brother’s accident. We were all really surprised.”

The lightheartedness that Bird brings to the team makes the women want to be with her, Felder said.

“The girls on the team fight over who gets to ride in Makenzi’s car because they know it is going to be a good time,” Felder said.

Felder assures while Bird is a “goof,” she knows when to be serious and does not let her silliness disrupt the team’s practice. The team would not have the same motivation if she was not a member of it this season.

“She is the biggest class clown you will meet,” Felder said. “She is always doing something ridiculous, and you can’t help but laugh at her.”