By Shannon J. Allen/Sand Mountain Reporter
2014 Sardis High graduate Hollie Hallmark earned letters in cheerleading, volleyball, basketball, track and softball during her high school career.
Also an honors student, Hallmark was a sophomore when she decided to concentrate on cheerleading, and the move paid off with a scholarship to Shorter University in Rome, Ga.
“I played many sports in high school, and I realized in the 10th grade that cheerleading was what I wanted to do,” Hallmark said. “I decided to stick with cheerleading and get better at it so I could follow my dream.”
Hallmark cheered six years for the Lady Lions, including the last four on the varsity. She was selected an All-American cheerleader at summer camp for three years.
Hallmark wanted to be a part of a competitive cheer team in college, a decision that led her to Shorter, an NCAA Division II program.
“I have been looking at them for a while,” she said. “They’ve won seven national championships, and that made me really interested in their school and cheerleading program.”
Hallmark braved winter weather to attend a tryout at Shorter in January.
“That’s when the snowstorms were coming, and a lot of people couldn’t get down there to try out,” she said.
Hallmark didn’t learn if she made the squad at tryouts and became “very anxious” until she received the news.
“[Shorter] said they would be in contact with me, and they e-mailed a month later and told me what I gotten and that they would get back with me on accepting the scholarship.”
Hallmark competed with Kay-La’s Gymnastics and Cheerleading in Boaz for seven years and with Ace All-Stars in Rainbow City the last three years. The 5-foot-8 Hallmark expects to be a base or a back spot for stunts at Shorter.
“I love to tumble and stunt,” she said. “Tumbling has always been my strong point.”
An honors student, Hallmark also received some academic scholarships. She’s undecided on a major.
She said that her parents, Jason and Susan, have been her biggest supporters.
“We have traveled the world cheering.”