Cats and birds don’t always work well together but McKenzie Baskin, 2017 graduate of Whitehouse High School, is ready to step out of her Wildcat environment and soar with the Cardinals of Trinity Valley Community College.
Just before school was out, Baskin signed a letter of commitment to cheer with the co-ed squad at TVCC in Athens. She accepted one of their top 10 scholarships and will be majoring in the pre-veterinarian program.
She has been in the eye of TVCC Cheer Coach Khris Franklin for some time now. While Baskin took tumble classes at Gym Tyler, she attended several collegiate cheer clinics at TVCC. Franklin had a front row seat to her athletic and skill development and knew he wanted her as a part of his team.
Baskin was a WHS cheerleader her freshman and sophomore years. Her junior and senior years were more focused on her academics, health science and all-star cheer.
Cheerleading started for Baskin when she was in the fifth grade. She stayed steady with her training but also stayed close to home as she took an active role in caring for her father David who was so ill with ALS. The terrible disease took David’s life in Sept. 2015.
During her senior year, Baskin joined the All-Star team at Spirit of Texas Cheer in Coppell. This year they went Orlando for a world competition where they finished fourth out of 26 teams from around the world. “This was a great opportunity to work with older more skilled athletes,” Baskin said.
Baskin says she is really looking forward to going to camp at SMU this summer with the TVCC squad where they will all get better acquainted and begin their work together. The cheer squad is co-ed and has 34 members.
“The cheer world seems really big but it is truthfully very small,” Baskin said. “All the cheer athletes from TVCC know their alumni that have gone on to Tech and other universities. It is a big advantage to start here and get to know cheerleaders from big schools too.”
While Athens is not far away it is far enough to give this Whitehouse girl a taste of responsibility and life on her own.
“I’m looking forward to living the college life with the cheerleaders,” she said. “I’ve been there overnight with one of the cheerleaders and got to experience how their routine through the day goes. They are together all of the time. I’m looking forward to forming that bond.”
Baskin says that cheer is not for everyone but it is a great choice for girls or boys who are looking for a unique experience in athletics and learning to work as a team.
“Cheer is something I would encourage others to be involved in,” Baskin said. “It is not only a sport you can grow in athletically and physically but also will grow together and face challenges in life together. You build such strong friendships with your group, depending on each other and working as a team.”
Her mom Keri is not looking forward to the empty-nest syndrome but she is so excited for McKenzie’s opportunity at TVCC.
“I know her daddy would be so proud of how she is using her God-given talents to help her further her education at TVCC,” Keri said. “I love how one of her friends says that when he gets to Heaven he doesn’t want one ounce of talent left, meaning he plans to not waste one bit while he’s here and to give Christ all the glory in doing so. We can’t wait to see our Cardinal in action next year!”