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Eastside cheerleader makes all-state team
Mackenzie Mallard 1
Eastside senior cheerleader Mackenzie Mallard is one of 16 students in Georgia to be named to the 2016 4-AAAA All-State Cheerleading Squad. - photo by Submitted Photo

Eastside High School senior Mackenzie Mallard has been named to the 2016 4-AAAA All-State Cheerleading Squad, joining 15 other students in the state of Georgia.

Over 200 students applied to compete in the 2016 All-State Cheerleading Competition, with 40 qualifying for the finals at Columbus State University in August.

“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, in a press release. “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.”

During the finals, Mallard completed an interview where she was scored on presentation, poise, clarity of expression and communication skills, content of answers, diction, spontaneity and personality. She then performed a cheer routine that required jumps, tumbling and stunts.

“She did a phenomenal job on her routine,” said Eastside cheerleading coach Lin 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.”

Mallard says she started cheering in middle school as a “sporadic decision” but has since learned many valuable skills.

“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.”

According to Mallard, her six-year cheerleading career will soon come to an end as the AP Scholar begins to focus on college.

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

Kerr praised Mallard for her efforts as a student.

“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.”