Makala McDonald, cheer captain, shares her passion

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The challenge of cheering
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 7:42pm

Cheerleader Makala McDonald opens eyes about the Utah State University Eastern cheer squad and what it is about behind the scenes.

Cheerleading and spirit squads at schools are often taken for granted or not given enough credit, but the captain of the cheer team at USUE filled in some blanks on what the squad entails and how challenging it can really be.

Cheering since she 4-years-old, Makala McDonald explained how difficult and time consuming cheer is. People do not usually see how demanding being a cheerleader really is. The USUE squad practices hours in the early morning, working hard for performance opportunities and game days. These practices constitute repetitive sequences of stunts, tumbling and dances. Pairing with the USUE dance team and drum-line to perfect routines is also in the schedule of the busy cheerleader.

Outside of the numerous, hours full of performing and practicing, the cheer squad has made trips to elementary schools for charity work. McDonald explained how her team mates love getting involved with the community and children by performing at elementary school assemblies, reading to the kids, and doing arts and crafts with the kids.

The most challenging part of cheer is, McDonald said “The time commitment is the hardest part of cheer. Having a full-time job, being a full-time student and cheering at all the sports is hard to juggle.”

Although it can be hard to juggle, she also stated that her love for the sport is worth it. Her favorite thing about cheer is how having a cheer team is like automatically gaining 12-close-knit sisters. She says “My favorite thing about USUE cheer is the Fan Appreciation Game. There are a lot of people in that environment.” Also explaining how her team is encouraging toward one another, even though it’s a mix of Carbon County natives and cheerleaders from outside the local area.

With McDonald as the captain and Maegen Mower as her co-captain, the team represents the school on social media, which is correlated by social media/PR representative Hannah Slusinski.

McDonald described some of the technical details of cheer, “There are four main positions to cheer that most people do not even know about. The flier, which is the girl in the air. Bases who mainly lift the feet of the fliers, back spots for moral support and in case the flier falls backwards, and front spots to help make the weight of the flier lighter. There is also one manning, which is where the males lift the flier.”

As McDonald is in her sophomore season of cheer, she plans to tryout for the cheer squad at Southern Utah University or Weber State University cheer. If neither of those work out she will take a leap of faith and try out for the Utah Jazz dance team.

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