Molly McLaughlin will take on a new role this year, as she captains the Windermere Prep cheer team.
A senior on the Windermere Prep cheerleading team, Molly McLaughlin has found a passion for her sport over the last three years. This cheer season, McLaughlin will be taking on the role of captain — something that she looks forward to.
How did you get into cheer?
I was a gymnast back in middle school and was kind of done with it, so I wanted something else where I could tumble. I finally got into cheer freshman year, and did All-Star for a little bit and then did school cheer my sophomore year.
Was there anything else besides tumbling that helped lead you to cheer?
I’ve always kind of wanted to cheer at the games and everything, and pump up the school. I’m originally from Wisconsin and that is a big part of the football games, so I just kind of wanted to continue that.
What has been your favorite thing about cheerleading at Windermere Prep?
I’d say just the team and being able to compete with my team, and (attaining) new skills — it’s exciting.
The season is about to start up, so what are you most excited about?
Getting bonded with the team — being a captain and being able to lead them. It’s my first year as captain … I’m a little bit nervous, but I’m really excited because a lot of my friends were captains last year, so I feel like I was pretty ready for it.
What are the best words of advice you’ve been given?
Just always have a smile on your face, because, no matter what’s happening, if you’re smiling you’ll make other people happy and smile.
Do you have a favorite cheer or chant that you like to do?
We do a chant, “Let’s go Lakers,” just because usually the crowd can get into that one because it’s pretty simple. I like when the crowd gets into it more.
What’s the toughest part about cheerleading?
For me, it’s stunting, just because I’m not as familiar with it. From gymnastics, tumbling was so easy to just transition into, but the stunting aspect of it was a little bit difficult to get into. Now I’d say it’s one of my favorite parts.
What’s been the biggest change you’ve seen in yourself since your first year cheering at Windermere Prep?
I’d say I’ve just become a lot more outgoing and able to talk to people, because I have so many more people that I know throughout the school.
So what happens for you once you graduate?
College — I want to go to the University of Alabama, but we will see. We went on a college tour my sophomore year (with) my family and we did a bunch of colleges, and I just walked on the campus and I was like, “This is where I want to be — I can see myself here.” I’ve been accepted, so it’s more see where else I get accepted, and scholarships and everything.