Beyond The Game With Rainey Dellinger
South Mecklenburg High School senior cheerleader Rainey Dellinger has built
quite an extensive resume as a cheerleader. The daughter of David and Leslie
Dellinger has also worked extremely hard to overcome ACL surgery on her
knee and now finds herself ready to enjoy an exciting senior season. Let’s go
Beyond the Game with Rainey to learn more.
How long have you been a cheerleader?
“I started doing recreational cheerleading at the age of four. I cheered at
Quail Hollow Middle School and this will be my 4th year cheering for South
Mecklenburg High School. My favorite part about school cheerleading is being
able to show my school spirit and getting the crowd involved at the games
with chants and songs. There is no better feeling than being on the sidelines
at a close game with your student section going crazy.”
What is your favorite part about cheering?
“Cheering for a home game is by far my favorite. While homecoming is of
course the most packed and intense, every home game is just full of excitement.
We have a great student section, and I love getting to perform and lead
my peers in supporting our “New South” football team!”
I understand you also compete on a national level?
“Along with school cheer, I have been doing competitive cheerleading since
I was 13 years old. I started off at a local gym about 3 miles from my home.
Since then I have ventured to one of the most well-known and successful
gyms in the country, Cheer Athletics. Being a competitive all-star cheerleader
means I spend countless hours in the gym working on tumbling, stunting,
dancing and jumps. It’s a very rigorous sport, and I love it! I am fortunate
to have traveled to many states competing nationally on top level teams and
have been a Worlds Finalist twice.”
“My favorite part about competitive cheerleading is being a part of what
seems like a totally different world than non-cheerleaders. I have a network
of friends from all over the country that share my passion for all-star cheer
and it’s fun staying in touch with them. I also love competing. Going out on
stage is a feeling that is indescribable. The butterflies and the excitement mixed
together gives you a feeling like nothing else.”
How well do you perform in the classroom?
“I do pretty well in the classroom. I currently have a 4.5 GPA and I am involved
in a few clubs such as Beta Club and Key Club. I am also a Sabre Ambassador for
my school which gives me the opportunity to meet new students and welcome
them to South Meck.”
How do you balance your time to find classroom and athletic success?
“Although my schedule is very hectic, I do a pretty good job of balancing cheerleading
and my school work. I use my spare time at school to get a head start
on homework. But I will admit that I sometimes find myself up late at night finishing assignments. Getting into
a good college is very important to me so I do what it takes to keep my grades
What is your favorite subject at South Meck?
“My favorite subject is math. Being able to come to a definite answer like a
number in math is what I like most. I see it like a puzzle, so it can be fun to
I understand you are coming back from an injury, can you walk us
through that and your rehab and comeback?
“Unfortunately, during my last season of all-star cheer, I tore my ACL while
tumbling at practice and had to have knee surgery in December, 2014. After
practicing for 6 months with my team, CA Royalcats, I was hugely disappointed
to never get to compete with them. There were days I felt like giving
up on cheerleading completely, but I made a decision to not let my injury
steal my talent and passion. So I stayed involved traveling to competitions as
a spectator, and I did everything the physical therapist asked for 7 months.
Fortunately, it paid off as my knee is now totally healed and good as new!
Now I am making good progress on the next step of my journey which is
working hard in the gym to regaining all of my stunting and tumbling skills.
Once I have all my skills, I hope to join an all-star team once again and compete
at Worlds next May. And I hope to be ready for college cheer tryouts in
“Getting injured really threw me a curve and has been very difficult emotionally.
But I try to focus on the positives and realize that I learned a lot about
acceptance, patience and perseverance from the whole experience.”
Have you placed any thoughts into college?
“Cheering in college is my long term plan. I would love to experience being
on the sidelines of a huge football game that is aired all over the country! I
am thinking about applying to UNC, NCSU, ASU, and ECU. I would be happy
getting accepted to any of those great schools! Being an athlete and experiencing
a major injury has also inspired me to pursue Physical Therapy as a
major. Helping others to heal and stay optimistic after an injury sounds like
a very rewarding career to me and a way for me to use my own personal
experience to help others.”