Passionate Upbeat and cheerleader hopes to return from injury

By Katie Duell | Reporter

She is the girl who does back handsprings repeatedly across the gym floor to send her peers in the stands into a frenzy at home basketball games. She is one of the Upbeats dancers who move in unison with her teammates to entertain onlookers. She has cheered and encouraged fellow athletes in competition, but that is only part of senior Marissa Luckman’s contributions as a student athlete at MHS.

Luckman has participated in sports since she was a child but stopped competing in gymnastics in fourth grade and found her new passion, dance, in middle school.  However, Luckman likes to try new things and stay active, so she played basketball and participated on the cheer team during her freshman and sophomore years. Her desire for dance was rekindled her junior year. She has loved being an Upbeat ever since then.

“My favorite part of dance is that you get to express yourself through your body,” Luckman said.

Luckman adds talent and depth to a team that has done well in competition and hopes to perform well at the state competition. She also serves as a role model to her younger teammates.

“She’s a really good dancer,” sophomore Sara Birrer said. “The way she dances is very inspiring.”

According to freshman Daysha Browne, Luckman is a great teammate because of her positive attitude. That positive attitude has helped Luckman deal with recent adversity. While practicing for their state performance last month, Luckman landed wrong after a backflip and suffered shooting pain in her back. The pain persisted and after a visit to a doctor, it was determined she needed to take some time off to heal.

“I was really sad when I found out I had to sit out of dance and I was disappointed that I couldn’t help my team out,” Luckman said.

Though she is injured, Luckman is slowly returning to dancing, and the Upbeats are now into the most intense part of their season as they prepare for state competition in March. Daily practices run from 3:45-8 p.m. with an hour-long break for dinner. Upbeats coach Debbie Brown appreciates Luckman’s commitment.

“You can always count on her to do her part,” Brown said. “She’s willing to help anyone who needs it. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her.”

Despite her busy dance schedule, Luckman still finds time to be involved in other areas of school and her community. By a unanimous vote, she was selected as the General Manager for the KMHS Radio station this year, a program she has been involved in since she was a freshman. Teacher Steve Walker said he was delighted when the staff elected her as she is a very mature and disciplined student.  She is also a member of National Honor Society, an ASB representative and helps coordinate the Mr. MHS program.

“She’s always willing to help,” senior Skylar Malamed said. “She has stepped up as a leader and is definitely looked up to.”