Lardner is a familiar name in baseball circles up and down the Pacific Coast. Mac (THS 2016), Macer (THS 2019) and Robinson Lardner (THS 2022) are definitely household names locally if you know baseball.
Mac was recently named “Athlete of the Decade” by the Atascadero News and is now a senior at Gonzaga University and has had a great collegiate career there and is anticipating his senior season starting this week vs. BYU Friday night. News From the Nest caught up with Mac and asked him to share his thoughts on his collegiate senior year, what he has learned and what wisdom he can pass on to high school athletes.
News From the Nest (NFTN): Tell us a little about your role on the Gonzaga baseball team? (position and how much you expect to be playing this year.
Mac Lardner (ML): I’m entering into my senior season for Gonzaga and this will be my fourth year being a starting pitcher. I expect to be one of the key pieces on the mound and I anticipate throwing around 120 innings this spring for the Zags.
NFTN: Share with us an experience that you have had at Gonzaga that gives a little look behind the scenes of what it is like to play for the Zags?
ML: An experience that comes to mind that is a behind the scenes look into being a Zag would be our day to day lives. We wake up at 5:30 for our team workout at 6:00, breakfast after that, class from 8:00 to 12:00, lunch from 12:30 to 1:30, practice from 2:00 to 5:00, dinner around 5:30 and finally homework and tutors till about 8. It’s a packed and exhausting day, but I absolutely love it. I have the best teammates in the country who make the day to day process very satisfying.
NFTN: Going from baseball at Templeton to a NCAA Division 1 program has had to be a big adjustment. Tell us what that was like.
ML: In high school, the level of commitment that goes into baseball and my teammate’s motivations to play is completely different than Division 1 baseball. At Templeton, kids would show up 10 minutes late, slip their cleats on and jump right into practice. At Gonzaga we show up an hour early to everything if we can, do a full activation warm-up, see our athletic trainer if we have any injuries and fuel our bodies with good healthy food. At Gonzaga, everyone is pushing themselves and each other to be the best players and students we can be. In high school, succeeding at baseball wasn’t necessarily a high priority for most of my teammates and getting good grades was even less important.
NFTN: As your season is quickly approaching describe for us what a normal day for you is like? (Academic workload, studying, practices/workout time etc.)
ML: A normal day for me right now is morning workouts at 7:00, class from 9:00 to 11:00, lunch, practice from 2-5 and recovery after practice for my arm and legs to make sure I’m ready to go for the next day. I usually get home around 5:30 to eat, call home and do any homework I have to do.
NFTN: What are some goals you have set for yourself for the upcoming season?
ML: Some of the goals I’ve set for myself are to win another WCC championship, get to the college world series and get drafted in June.
NFTN: Outside of baseball and athletics what have been the biggest life changes you have had to make and what have you learned about yourself?
ML: The biggest life changes I’ve had to make have been moving away from my family, budget my money and figure out what I want to do after baseball is over. I’ve learned that I indeed love my family very much, I need to get better at budgeting and I look forward to getting my California real estate license during one of the off-seasons in the near future.
“Watching Mac play baseball at Gonzaga has been one of the biggest blessings I’ve ever received. While there he has grown as a player and as a person.” — Macer Larder, Mac’s brother.
NFTN: What is something you have experienced that you didn’t expect?
ML: Something that I’ve experienced that I didn’t expect is serving the community as much as our program and school do. Servant leadership is a big emphasis at Gonzaga and it’s something that has become a norm on campus. Inside of the athletic department, each team competes for who can have more community service hours by the end of the school year. Our team not only finishes first every year, but we also break the previous school record that we set the year before. Since my time at Gonzaga, I’ve set three community service records.
NFTN: What advice would you give to high school athletes?
ML: There’s plenty of advice I would give to high school athletes but the main point I would give is to be brutally honest with yourself about your abilities in the sport. If you want to play at the next level and are all in, then give it everything you have and leave nothing up for regret. If you aren’t as serious about the sport and are doing it for fun, make sure to get everything else in your life taken care of first, live in the moment as best you can and enjoy your remaining time within the sport with your high school buddies.
NFTN: Last question, what is a favorite memory you have from your time at THS?
ML: My favorite memory from my time at THS was spending time with my closest friends. I was fortunate to have been surrounded by genuine, loving and high achieving friends.
Have a great season Mac …