Walden taking cheerleading passion to Troy University

Published 11:00 am Monday, May 23, 2022

Andalusia High School senior Macie Walden grew up showing appreciation and support for her school and made a commitment to Troy University for that same opportunity Thursday, May 19.

Macie Walden signs her NLI to continue cheering for Troy University.

“Cheer has always played a major role in my life. It was always eat, sleep, cheer, and repeat. I’ve always dreamed of becoming one of the cheerleaders I see on TV and many different social medias,” Walden said. “I am beyond grateful I can continue my love for this sport while also living out one of my lifelong dreams of becoming a D1 cheerleader.”

Former Andalusia Cheer Coach Candace Smith was thankful of Walden’s contributions.

“Macie is so warm and caring. She has dedicated her entire active life to cheer, and it shows. She catches on so quickly and teaches others as she goes. I have no doubt she will strive in her college journey as one of the best.”

Former Andalusia Cheer Coach Candace Smith, left, showed her support for Macie Walden on her signing day with Troy.

She looks forward to living on her own and did not want to be far from home at Troy.

“It’s hard to go from having your guardian with you all day and night to them being hours away. My mom has taught me to be the best young woman. I’m going to miss her so much, but I can’t wait to see how I apply her teachings as I take on college and my journey to adulthood. After my last football game, I was not ready to let go of something I kept so close to my heart. I fell so deeply in love with this program and pushed myself so hard for a spot at Troy. I cannot wait to see what this next year brings.”

She started cheering when she was three years old. “My mom put me in dance at Andalusia Dance and Tumbling. At such a young age, I would never cooperate with the teachers and just sat until it was time to go home. Then, I joined the Starz team, where it all started at the tryouts.”

Walden said she would miss being on campus the most.

“Andalusia High School has made my last four years the best I could have asked for. Friday night lights are most likely the toughest thing to let go. I will surely miss those bright lights and our amazing band playing all the funky music to make our fans, football team, and cheerleaders go crazy. My former cheerleaders and I spent hours making run-throughs and signs to hang all around the stadium. Nothing can beat being an Andalusia Bulldog, and that is something I am truly going to miss.”

She learned a lot from her coaches and fellow cheerleaders.

“They have taught me so much. My former cheer captain Brooke Mancil gave the biggest help. I had no idea how to lead the team to the best of my ability as captain. Brooke showed me how to be responsible while making it as fun as I could. I can’t thank her enough for all the late night calls of worrying and all of the pep talks she had given me throughout the year. Candace Smith taught me the right way to go about things and showed me how to be respectful in any given situation good or bad. Last but not least, Katie Poole and Kirby Sewell have taught everything I know since I was three years old. The thing I learned most from every single one of them is to be myself and to work hard and it will all pay off in the end,” Walden said.

Her biggest highlight at Andalusia came cheering for the Bulldogs in their playoff game with UMS-Wright in 2021.

“At the beginning of the week, I got my girls ready for this game and prepared them for a tough competition. We cheered to the best of our abilities and kept the crowd alive. Before the last play, I remember cheering as loud as I could for our boys to stop the ball. As soon as I heard the whistle and our boys stormed the field, I dropped to my knees with overwhelming excitement. That night will always be a night to remember.”

The support of her family and friends means everything to her.

Macie Walden celebrated her signing to cheer at Troy University with her fellow cheerleaders.

“Going into something new I’ve never done before has me a little scared, but I will always have them encouraging me to do my best and to be myself. With the amount of love and support they have shown already, I can’t wait to see more in the future. My family, friends, and past coaches make me perform to the best of my abilities because they are the people I never want to let down.”

Walden named her mother as the biggest influence of her life.

“She is my rock and has sacrificed so much of her time for me. She has spent hours driving to every single one of my football games and cheer competitions. She has been the best role model for me, because no matter the circumstances we have been through, she always keeps a smile on her face in any good or bad situations. She taught me how to be an outstanding woman, and my goal is to reflect all of her actions and be the woman she is. I could never thank her enough for everything she has done for me and all the lessons and advice she has given me.”

She is the daughter of Krystal Collins and Jeff Collins and graduated from Andalusia High School on Friday, May 20, 2022.