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Tahlequah’s McKenna Swim – Cheer Spotlight

Tahlequah High School senior McKenna Swim is a living example of perseverance and solidarity on the cheerleading mat. McKenna’s path as a flyer has been driven by her love of the sport and the steadfast support of her coaches and teammates.

“My biggest influencer is my coach, Mandi Stafford,” McKenna said, acknowledging the profound impact her mentor has had on her cheerleading career. “She always trusts me and hears my opinions. She is one of my role models because she always has our best interest at heart.”

Reflecting on her cheerleading experience, McKenna emphasizes the dedication and teamwork required for success. “It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication to be successful. It has also taken a lot of heart,” she shared, underscoring the values she upholds on and off the mat.

McKenna’s crowning achievement came with her team’s consecutive wins at the World Championships. “Just being able to experience knowing that you are truly the best of the best was such an indescribable feeling, knowing how hard we worked for it,” she recalled, with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

While McKenna doesn’t relish the idea of defeating opponents, she finds motivation in friendly competition, particularly with her best friend and teammate, Alayna Mcalpine. “Anytime we are doing something, we always try to make it a challenge against each other, it just pushes us to work harder,” she remarked, highlighting the positive influence of their rivalry.

Within her team, McKenna acknowledges the often-overlooked contributions of teammate Shaylee Sherrill. “She is always working so hard, even when no one notices it. She is always able to step in and do things she’s never tried to benefit the team,” McKenna praised, recognizing Shaylee’s dedication and potential as a future leader.

Looking to the future, McKenna has her sights set on higher education and entrepreneurship. “I plan to attend OSU IT and get my associates degree. I then plan to start my own business in botox,” she said, illustrating her ambition beyond the cheerleading mat.

As she prepares to embark on the next chapter of her journey, McKenna remains grateful for the opportunity to represent her school and community through cheer. “It means a lot to me to be able to represent my school and team.”

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