Mackenzie Gennaro's FPC cheer team joins her at her signing ceremony on May 10.
Palm Coast Observer
Flagler Palm Coast senior Mackenzie Gennaro wasn’t handed a spot on the Coastal Carolina University cheerleading team. She had to try out.
She said she was one of 96 prospects competing on April 13-15 for a spot on the Chanticleers’ team, and she was one of 15 incoming students selected for a coveted place on the roster.
“It was one of if not the hardest experiences of my life,” Gennaro said.
FPC held a signing ceremony for Gennaro on May 10. She received a Presidential Scholarship at Coastal Carolina and will be on the school’s competitive and sideline cheer teams.
Gennaro was a member of the Bulldogs’ competitive and sideline cheer teams and also competes and coaches at Cheer Force All Stars in Ormond Beach.
She watched Coastal Carolina compete in the National Cheerleaders Association’s College Nationals at the Daytona Beach Bandshell last year.
I knew it was where I wanted to go the second I saw them.” — MACKENZIE GENNARO
“I knew it was where I wanted to go the second I saw them,” she said.
Gennaro has been a cheerleader for eight years. Competitive cheerleading, she said, is a sport like no other, combining the skills of acrobatics, gymnastics and dance.
Tumbling from gymnastics includes backflips, handsprings and somersaults among other skills. Elite stunts include pyramids and basket tosses.
“I really like stunting,” she said, noting that she doesn’t get thrown in the air.
“I throw people in the air,” she said.
And catches them?
“Yes, that’s the most important part,” she said.
Gennaro helped lead FPC to a ninth-place finish in the Class 2A small division non-tumbling at the state cheerleading championships in February.
Earlier this month, her Cheer Force All Stars Eclip5e team finished eighth in the Level Five Senior Open Coed Division 2 competition at the Summit Championship at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
Gennaro has been coaching a Tiny Novice 1 team for Cheer Force during the past two year.
“The young kids say they want to be just like me, and that makes me want to be the best as possible,” she said.
Gennaro plans to major in psychology with a concentration in forensics with a goal of one day joining the FBI or CIA.
ABA TEAM COMING TO DAYTONA
Basketball fans of a certain age will remember watching the high-flying, 3-point shooting stars of the old American Basketball Association.
Former Mainland High basketball player Keith McClenny plans to form a team in Daytona Beach in the semipro version of the ABA, joining nearby franchises in St. Augustine, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Brevard County and Clermont.
Like the original ABA, the semipro league uses the iconic red-white and blue basketball and has innovative rules to generate more offense. The original ABA brought the 3-point shot to the NBA when the leagues merged in 1976. The current ABA has a 4-point shot from behind half-court and a 3D light that adds a point to all baskets when it’s turned on after violations.
McClenny, who graduated from Mainland in 1990, operates the Red Devils Basketball Academy. He has reserved the Daytona Beach market for the league and hopes the Daytona Beach team can play its first game in November.
“(ABA CEO) Joe Newman really wants a team in Daytona Beach. He loves this market.” McClenny said. “We need basketball in this town. There are still some good basketball players here.”
McClenny would love for his team to be able to play its games in the Ocean Center, but has a plan B at the Cherry Cultural and Educational Center at 925 George W. Engram Blvd.
AdventHealth physicians and care teams will provide free physicals for Flagler County students at Flagler Palm Coast High School on May 23 and 24 from 5 to 9 p.m.
The annual event is open to Flagler County public school student athletes. The physicals include heart screenings which are essential as sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death among high school athletes. Pre-registration is available at www.FSSportsPhysicals.com.
PALM COAST TENNIS CLINICS
May is National Tennis Month and the City of Palm Coast is celebrating with a series of free clinics for players ages 11 and up of all skill levels.
The clinics will be on Saturday, May 20, and Saturday, May 27, from noon to -2 p.m. on the clay courts at the Palm Coast Tennis Center, 1290 Belle Terre Parkway. Each day will feature two, one-hour sessions. Participants are encouraged to register in advance on the event registration page. Go to palmcoast.gov/Events/Home/Details/tennis-month-clinics and click on the register button at the bottom.
LPGA AMATEUR CHAPTER CHAMPIONSHIP
The LPGA Amateur Daytona Chapter had its chapter championship on May 7 at The Club at Venetian Bay. It was a Low Gross/Low Net stroke play tournament. There were 55 participants and five flights. Brygitte Lusinski was the low gross club champion. Teresa Sanders was the low net club champion.
Flight winners: Championship flight, Deb Crowley, low gross; Shauna Federico, low net. First flight, Ann Bowman, low gross; Gloria Payne, low net. Second flight, Terry McFarland, low gross; Joan Mansour, low net. Third flight, Pat Westbrook, low gross; Kathleen McKay, low net. Fourth flight, Joan DeCarlo, low gross; Pat Albers, low net.
POWERLIFTER BREAKS RECORD
National champion powerlifter Kelly Schlobohm of Bunnell competed in the 2023 Women’s ProAm in Cincinnati last month and totaled 1,190.5 pounds, including a 474-pound squat — a world record in the Masters 2 (ages 50-59) 149-pound single ply division — a bench press of 259 pounds and a deadlift of 457.4 pounds.
She is ranked third in the world in her division, where she is the world record holder in squat and deadlift.