Senior Standout: Capital Cheerleader McKinley Winkle - News, Sports and Weather

Senior Standout: Capital Cheerleader McKinley Winkle

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Athletes competing for four years at the varsity level are pretty rare, but do happen in high school sports. But for those who cheer them on, there's only been one four year varsity cheerleader in Capital High's history, and that's McKinley Winkle.

"It feels pretty good, I think it's a great accomplishment," said Winkle. "It's hard to keep the time for it, especially with school, and having a job too."

McKinley definitely has a busy schedule too. Outside of school, cheerleading, and her job, she has also done karate for the past nine years, and is only one month away from earning her black belt.

"It'll feel pretty great, it's been a long time coming," said Winkle. "I had to take a little break a couple of times because of cheer, because cheer got a little too busy, but I'm happy to be back and finally reach that goal."

As McKinley has kept up her training in karate she's actually been able to rely on cheerleading to help along the way. 

"Her karate has helped her with her leg strength, her back strength," said Capital cheer coach Sue Skinner. "I think also it's kept her pretty injury free. It helps a ton with her core strength, and has always helped with her tumbling."

But off the court McKinley has also been able to use her cheerleading in her personal life. This past April her father was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and her positive demeanor has helped in his recovery.

"It was from the exposure to asbestos while he was serving in the Navy," said Winkle. "Just encouraging him, spending time with him, and especially our faith in God is what keeps us going."

"A lot of times I feel like she is the rock of the family," said Skinner. "It's a huge burden for her, but you would never know it at cheer practice. I would be surprised if the people at the high school even know about it."

McKinley's father did treatment in California for seven weeks, and it seems that all her cheerleading at home may have helped.

"Before the treatment he had about six months, but after the treatment they're giving him five years," said Winkle.

McKinley Winkle stays pretty busy, but it's her ability as a cheerleader on and off the court that truly makes her stand out from the rest.

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