Fabulous freshman athlete turning heads in the South Bay

The banners hanging on the wall of the Archbishop Mitty High School gym in San Jose showcase an impressive collection of superstar athlete alum. 

Among them are Olympic volleyball legend Kerri Walsh-Jennings, high-flying Denver Nuggets star Aaron Gordon and two-time World Cup champion Brandi Chastain, to name a few. And if you ask people in the know, a young up-and-comer, high school freshman McKenna Woliczko’s name may one day be added to the list.

"McKenna is in the conversation with legends from our school that have made an impact far beyond Archbishop Mitty High School," says her basketball coach Sue Phillips.

And if anyone should know it's the legendary Phillips.  In 30 years at Mitty, she has coached some all-time greats on her way to becoming the winningest girls' coach in Northern California.

"When McKenna walked through the gym I was taken aback by her positive spirit. Then, to watch her play, and you're going 'Holy Toledo, she's special.' McKenna not only has the talent, she has the mindset which I think separates her from people," said Phillips.

That competitive mindset combined with her 6 foot 2 inch frame and loads of athleticism translated to McKenna leading Mitty to a 28-3 record, and the 2023 NorCal Open Division Championship over Salesian this past March in which she scored 29 points and grabbed 21 rebounds. And she was only 14 years old.  

We asked McKenna if she was surprised by all of her success. 

"I was very surprised. I came in knowing nothing, no expectations, just excited to be coming to Mitty. And then I was on varsity, and all these things led up to where we are now," said McKenna.

And where she is now is the reigning Max Preps Co-National Freshman of the Year and the Cal High Sports Player of the Year after averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds a game, which is even more remarkable when you consider she’s only been playing competitive basketball for two years.

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McKenna Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose

Of McKenna, Phillips says, "She has an incredible work ethic. She maintains a sense of humility and yet a level of confidence, that beautiful balance.  And she wants to be great."

But her athletic talents don't end there. McKenna is also a hard-hitting softball superstar, and ironically, given her stature, a shortstop.

"I definitely get low but what people tell me when I play shortstop, it's not a shortstop but a tall stop…If anything I feel like it helps me because it gives me more range with covering bases or even just like a far ground ball, or there's always like these fun ones where it's like a line drive up high, and I can just jump and get it, and you would never expect anyone to catch those."

As good as she is as a fielder - perhaps even more impressive is her hitting says varsity softball coach Susan Yocke. 

"Her strength, she is as a 14-year-old; she is one of the strongest hitters, like ball off the bat velocity and power hitters that we have," said Yocke.

Yocke was a softball hall-of-famer at Mitty in her own right, and she says she’s sure McKenna could play at the next level if she just focused on softball.

But as great she is at both sports, it’s as a basketball player that McKenna is generating the most buzz.  

She hasn’t even finished her freshman year and already 22 scholarship offers have poured in, including some from perennial powers like Stanford, South Carolina and Tennessee. 

 "It shocks me every single time.  When you really just think about it, it’s like wow, crazy!" says Woliczko.

Given her exceptional abilities, it may not be that surprising that both her parents played high-level sports -- her dad a basketball star and her mom excelling in softball -- both at the University of the Pacific.

"Growing up I was put into every sport possible, and I just loved it, I was always athletic…I would just shoot around with my dad, learn post-moves. I never really learned the game until this year. Obviously, there's still so much to learn."

While McKenna says she has a passion for both sports, she currently views basketball as her primary focus.