‘Just be who you are’: Good Hope’s Mahayla Dillard excited for junior year

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Good Hope’s Mahayla Dillard. (Courtesy of Mahalya Dillard)

GOOD HOPE, Ala. — Cheer season is here once again and for Good Hope’s junior co-captain Mahayla Dillard, this is another year that she’ll get to cheer with an amazing group of girls.

“It’s been really life-changing for me. I have so many cheer sisters that would always do anything to help me out. The atmosphere at Good Hope is awesome. We have so many people that care for us and would do anything for us. Ever since I was in youth, I’ve always wanted to be a part of the varsity cheer squad looking up to the older girls and wanting to be just like them. Now, I’m one of the older ones that everyone looks up to and becoming the co-captain is awesome. It’s a dream come true for me.”

Good Hope has a lot of returning cheerleaders this season and that will definitely help them out a lot, especially during their competitions.

“We have seven returning from our competition squad. We have 19 total cheerleaders on the competition squad, but only 15 can be on the mat. It’s been really competitive for each of us to really try and get a spot on the mat,” Dillard said. “This year has been great. We have a lot of talent from the younger girls moving up, coming in to help fill those spots of the seniors from last year. They have done amazing at adjusting to the switch from middle school to varsity.

Mahayla has learned so much from head coach Brandy Lowe.

“Mrs. Lowe is amazing. She’s such a good role model for all of us. She does so much for us that no one sees. She cares and loves us like her kids and would drop anything for any of us if we needed her. She’s very dedicated to what she does, and she loves it. She has a huge passion for cheer and the squad,” Dillard said. “I’ve learned so much from her these past few years being with her. I’ve learned to not care about what other people think about you. Just be who you are, and she’s really made me into the person I am today. I’ve learned how to be a better cheerleader and a better person. She’s taught us how to be independent on our own and really take on some responsibility.”

Mahayla has been one of the leaders on this young team and has taught the younger cheerleaders so much about how to conduct themselves.

“I’ve taught the younger girls to do more things for themselves and be really nice and trustworthy to them so they feel like they have someone to always come to, whether it be Mrs. Lowe, Ashlin, me, or one of the older girls. I’ve also showed them how to be role models for the middle school, the youth, and the other kids at school. I’ve shown them how to really show your school pride and how respectful our school is to the other schools.”

Mahayla is one of the co-captains this year alongside fellow junior Kailey White and she is blessed to be a co-captain alongside one of her best friends.

“It’s been a real game-changer and I love the responsibility. I love getting to do extra work and I love being able to be there for the other girls. We have to come in on those extra days when we don’t have practice or come in early or stay after to finish a sign or make up a cheer. We help make sure that everything is ready for game day. Me and Kaliey are best friends, so it’s amazing getting to share that with your best friend.”

Mahayla worked on some things during the summer and has set some big goals for herself and the team. She talked about what will make this cheer squad special to watch this year and a couple of role models she met during her time as a cheerleader as well.

“I worked on conditioning a lot and lots of stunts. I really tried to help the new girls get good technique with stunting and tumbling,” she said. “My goal is to get better as a cheerleader. Our team goals are to win state and make it back to Nationals because I know we can do it. We just need to keep working hard and put in the work. Our team is so young, so it will be incredible to watch these girls grow and become better each and every day. We will have an amazing performance. My role models were Paris Stricklin and Allie Sartain. Seeing how hard they worked when no one knew inspired me to want to do the same.”

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