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September 15, 2016

Mackenzie Mallard

Eastside High School student Mackenzie Mallard will end her senior year and her cheerleading career on a high note as she recently learned she is one of only 16 students in Georgia to make the 2016 4-AAAA All-State Cheerleading Squad. Over 200 high school students from across the state applied to compete in the 2016 All-State Cheerleading Competition and Mackenzie was one of the top 40 applicants who qualified to move on to the finals competition at Columbus State University last month.

“We are all extremely proud of Mackenzie as she is such a talented and well-rounded student athlete,” said Eastside High School principal, Jeff Cher. “She has excelled in a variety of areas while at Eastside and we are elated that she was selected for the all-state cheerleading squad.  Mackenzie is a wonderful representative of her family, our school, and the entire community.”

At the state competition, Mallard said she was required to not only sit for an interview but also perform a cheer routine with several required elements. During the interview, judges scored each candidate on her presentation and poise; clarity of expression and communication skills; content of answers; diction; and spontaneity and personality.

Each cheerleader also had to perform a routine that included three required elements—jumps, tumbling, and stunting.   

“You had to include cheers, stunts, running, standing, tumbling, jumps, and a dance,” said Mallard. “And you only had two minutes to do it.”

Eastside High School cheerleading coach Lin Kerr was with Mallard at Columbus State University and according to the coach, she knew right away that Mallard, “nailed her performance.”

“She did a phenomenal job on her routine,” said Kerr. “Mackenzie had worked very hard before we even left to make sure that she felt comfortable performing by herself in front of the large crowd. She just went out there and she had fun. She hit all of her skills and you could just tell that she was prepared and ready to showcase her talent.”

A competition cheerleader for six years now, Mallard said she didn’t actually plan to pursue the sport.  

“While I was at Indian Creek (Middle School), I wanted to get involved in something but didn’t really know what,” she explained. “It was just a sporadic decision. I had friends who were trying out for cheerleading and I decided to try out, too.”

She was hooked and has been cheering ever since.

When asked what she loved about the sport, she was very quick to respond.

“You make some really good bonds with multiple groups of girls, so you have lasting friendships and relationships,” she said. “Learning and conquering new skills is another thing, because some of the stuff we do is pretty cool. The tumbling and stunting is fun but you have to work hard.”

Despite her love for cheerleading, Mallard said her cheerleading days will soon come to a close. The high school senior, who recently earned national recognition as an AP Scholar, is already focusing on her future.

“I like cheering but it’s very time consuming,” she explained. “When I start college, I’d rather be more committed to my school work and focus on my career.”

Despite the hard work and time she has and continues to devote to cheerleading, Mallard said she was surprised when she learned she made the All-State Squad.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” she said. “I was just glad to make it to the top 40. For me that was an accomplishment in its own. To make the top 16 was really exciting.”

“Mackenzie is an outstanding student and definitely a leader by example,” said Coach Kerr. “She sets goals for herself and surpasses them. She is very critical of her own skills so she can work to make them perfect. She works hard and for the past two years, the team has voted her MVP, as a sophomore and a junior. That says a lot about not only her technical skills but also her attitude and her leadership. I’m so proud of Mackenzie and all that she has accomplished.”