As one of the main sources of entertainment and motivation during the late nights of football and basketball season, the Timber Creek Cheerleading team itself goes far beyond the Friday night lights. With each cheerleader held accountable for their attitude and willingness to put forth the required team effort, the squad made up of around 40 student-athletes has influence broader than just games, helping orchestrate events throughout the school, from homecoming week, to school pep rallies and competitions. Describing the team for its positivity and these athletes’ individual respect for teachers, coaches and peers, Varsity Captain, Mackenzie Kovacev, has worked daily, both at the school and during her private time, to further the team’s improvement, hoping to become the best.

Beginning cheer in the eighth grade after a series of injuries from gymnastics, Kovacev was inspired by her sister, Madelyn Kovacev, to take up the sport. Cheering outside of the school at Spirit of Texas in Coppell, TX, she has competed on their A-Team, or World’s Team, for the past three years. Spending any opportunity she has choreographing routines, practicing or even just painting signs for the school, cheerleading has gone far past just a sport, and become an entire lifestyle for her.

“Cheer has paved a path for future success,” said Kovacev. “I am typically a more introverted and reserved person and cheer has taught me to step out of my comfort zone and make more personable connections with others…it is truly a sisterhood that will last forever.”

Putting in about 20-25 hours per week for school cheer and competitive cheer practices, Kovacev also sets aside time dedicated to choreographing routines and volunteering for the school.

“My dedication to cheer comes easily due to my passion for the sport,” Kovacev commented. “Being captain at Timber Creek is a blessing. This team is so much different than the two previous years I have experienced. This year expectations were set forth at the beginning of the year…[and] the team has been more positive, more respectful to teachers/coaches and peers, and has shown more school spirit.”

It has taught me positive leadership skills and has encouraged me to continue to be responsible and a good role model. I have been able to motivate the team to exemplify strong work ethic and dedication. This has helped the team become a more cohesive group.

The athletic program will compete at UIL and NCA competitions later this year, with Kovacev and other leaders making it a goal to compete in finals at UIL, and win NCA. Holding each cheerleader accountable to their actions, the experience has not only taught her significant life lessons such as commitment, conflict resolution and self-worth, but also the requirements in order to achieve success.

“Success is not defined by talent,” Kovacev said. “It is defined by the bonds we form and the way we lead Timber Creek.”