Makenna Orrick signed to cheer at Lee University


Thunder Radio

Makenna Orrick signs surrounded by her family and dance coach.

Elizabeth Brown, Sports Editor

Makenna Orrick signed to Lee University to further her education and athletic career on April 22, 2022.

Orrick is a senior at Coffee County Central High School as well as a four-year member of the Raiderettes Dance Team. She will be attending Lee University as a collegiate cheerleader. 

Lee University is a four-year private Christian school in Cleveland Tennessee with about 4,670 undergraduates. 

During her time as a member of the dance team here at Coffee County, she competed in dance competitions, and she was also the captain this past year. She was also named the MVP for the 2022 to 2023 season. 

Orrick will be transitioning from dancing in high school to cheering in college. She spoke on that transition and the adjustments that needed to be made when she decided to try out for Lee’s cheer squad. 

The two are extremely different technique wise,” Orrick stated when talking about that transition from dance to cheer. She mentioned that she had to work extremely hard on dance technique these past four years, but she stated that cheer is different in the fact that it is “all about muscle development” and “hard hitting.” 

She, however, was appreciative of dance because cheerleading and dance are similar in the fact that you have to learn material fast. Therefore, she had no trouble learning routines or the dance aspect of cheerleading. 

When she was asked why she chose Lee, she stated “It is Christ-centered, and I feel that it will help me excel in not only the athletic and career aspect, but also my faith.” She expressed her gratitude toward the people at the university who have assisted her in getting to this point. 

She feels that her full potential will be reached at Lee University. 

When deciding on where to spend the next four years of her life, Orrick had to break down different factors that Lee would offer. She had certain standards for attending a university, while also cheering. 

The first factor she looked for was a Christian environment that would allow for growth and align with her morals. She also stated, “I wanted to be close to home but not super close.”

She also stated, “I wanted an environment that was welcoming and really felt like home. I wanted to see myself a part of that school like I saw myself at Coffee County.”

All of these factors were found at Lee University, and although they do not have a collegiate dance program, Orrick felt that Lee checked every single box. She felt capable of being a college cheerleader, and she worked tirelessly to make it to that point. 

When she decided to be a cheerleader, there were some obstacles that came with it. Tryouts for the cheer team were in the first week of April, and Orrick began private lessons in December to develop her tumbling. 

Another obstacle she came across was the stunting aspect of cheerleading. “There is not a place at home to stunt,” Orrick said. 

She mentioned that she had to travel to Lee about twice a month to work on stunts, and “I felt like there was not much room for mistakes because Lee is all about stunts.”

Despite the challenges she faced in the process, Orrick is thrilled for her future as a cheerleader at Lee University. 

She says that she is looking forward to learning a new sport. “I haven’t cheered since sixth grade,” the senior stated.

“Jumping in the collegiate field is challenging, but it will push me to be the best athlete I can be,” she stated. The former dancer is not only looking forward to cheering, but she is also looking forward to furthering her academic career. 

“The professors know my future goals, and they are very qualified in their area of expertise.” Orrick is hoping to pursue Public Relations, and she feels that Lee is the perfect place for her to do so. 

Coffee County recognizes Makenna Orrick’s accomplishments, and the community is proud of her willingness to further her athletic career.