Cheerleading has been a big part of Brittanie McKenzie’s since middle school. And now, the senior nursing major and member of Queens cheerleading team is sharing her love of the sport with younger girls at the Boys and Girls Club on Marsh Road.
Since the beginning of this semester, McKenzie travels to the club every Friday afternoon to train the girls for more competition and crowd involvement styles of cheering. The club’s staff coach, known as Ms. T,, said the girls are excited to have a “real cheerleader” as a coach. “She’ll be a good asset to the squad, and she already works well with the girls,” said Ms. T.
McKenzie expressed that she wants to help move the team away from the typical “stomp” style they’re used to, “but I don’t want to completely stop using that part of cheering that makes it so much fun for them.”
For McKenzie, cheerleading has always been more than a sport. Going to practice “really makes me cut everything else off in the world,” said McKenzie. “It’s like a form of stress relief.”
McKenzie has been a member of the Queens cheerleading team for the past four years. She loves the closeness of her team, who are very much like one big family. Although she will soon be leaving teammates after graduation, she has high hopes for the team to continue growing. Cheerleading was once a club at Queens, but in 2008 it became a full sport to add to the other 18 other men’s and women’s sports teams.
Last school year, the team competed in a national competition and grabbed a national championship for the Small All-Girl Division in Myrtle Beach, S.C. According to McKenzie, they have several more competitions coming up, including a competition in November at the Charlotte Convention Center.
McKenzie intends to attend graduate school to become a nurse practitioner. Even after graduation, she wants to continue to help the Boys and Girls Club. “I really hope to continue coaching after I graduate, but if I can’t, I will definitely ask girls in my team who might be interested to take my place,” said McKenzie.
Aside from her academic life, McKenzie has proved to be an exemplary student athlete who upholds the Queens’ motto, “Not to be served, but to serve.”