The high school athlete is typically part of a varsity program for three, sometimes four years. In cheerleading and other individual sports athletes have the opportunity to experience additional years at the varsity level. For Senior Mallory Skaggs the last seven years with the LaRue County Cheerleading program has been a way of life.
The countless hours of practice, gymnastics, ballgames, and clinics have become second nature to Skaggs. She has transitioned through three head coaches, and been teammates with over fifty girls and boys who have come through the highly respected cheer program.
Skaggs has managed over the years to deal with the multiple demands of being a high school cheerleader. “The demands of being a cheerleader are that one must represent LCHS in a positive way at all times,” says Skaggs. “One needs to be full of energy when cheering any sporting event and be engaged in the game. The job as a cheerleader is to get the crowd cheering on the team and to also encourage whatever team you’re cheering for and let them know that their school is behind them. One must also need to be hard working and dedicated.”
The past seven years Skaggs has had to learn tumbling (gymnastic) skills, along with learning many sideline cheers, and competitive cheer routines. All this experience has been through the leadership of three different head coaches (Tara Wooden, Renee Wright and Danielle VanderMolen), but that has not changed her love for cheerleading one bit.
“I have actually had five very important coaches in my cheer career here at LaRue County. Four of them are Renee Wright, Tara Wooden, Megan Willard, and Danielle VanderMolen. They have all influenced me in so many ways. They have made me want to work hard, always try my best, and never give up even when times got tough. They are a big influence for my love for cheer. I can’t thank them enough for all they have done for me and continue to do for me and the love they showed me. They made me want to be a better cheerleader every day. They always believed in and never gave up on me or the team.”
Skaggs also admits credits one coach in particular that has been a part of the program for the last two seasons. “The last one, who is closest to my heart is my mother Melinda Skaggs, who this year became one of the assistant coaches. My mother has always been my number one fan, front and center at everything I do, and has always believed in me and encouraged me to do my best. I am so thankful that I can share my love for cheer with her and have her there with me my last year, I will cherish that forever. I could not have made it to where I am now without those five very important people. I love them more than anything.”
Skaggs has had the opportunity to enjoy a most successful time period of the LC cheer program as she has been a part of a program that has made it to Nationals four years in a row. That success has also included four region championships in a row, along with a state championship and runner-up in their respective class.
First year Head Coach Danielle VanderMolen has had a smoother transition to High School Cheer Coaching thanks to Skaggs. “She has been great in helping me adjust back to high school cheer. Helping me learn the ropes of how things have went in the past and how we can change things for the future.”
VanderMolen also adds, “Mallory is driven. She is dependable, a leader, a mentor, and extremely talented. There are many things to say about Mallory but one that keeps coming to mind is “respected”. Her teammates have a great deal of respect for her and what she brings to the team. Mallory is a very special girl to me and many others.”
Former Head Coach Renee Wright also speaks highly of Skaggs and her commitment to the Cheer program. “Mallory has experienced many successes with the program, as well as disappointment. Her love for LC Cheer is evident and she is totally committed to the program, even in rebuilding years. I am incredibly proud of her for finishing what she started many years ago. I can’t wait to see where she goes and what she does in the next year! In my eyes, Mallory is top notch and I love her like my own.”
Wright goes on to add, “Mallory’s maturity and dedication, along with years with the program, have set her apart from others. She has been a part of the cheerleading program at LC for seven years. She is a part of it and it is a part of her.”