The junior plays volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter and runs track in the spring, and somehow during all that, she squeezes time to have a 3.75 GPA in the classroom while taking mostly honors classes.
Not only does she participate in those three sports, she’s an impact performer for the Phoenix in all three. She’s currently the leading scorer and rebounder for the Lady Phoenix basketball team which is 19-1 overall and 9-0 in Region 5-AAA as well as being ranked No. 5 in the Class AAA AJC poll as they are poised to not only make their first ever state tournament appearance, but make some noise once they get there.
This past fall, she was a terror on the front line for the Sonoraville volleyball team, which won their first region championship and advanced to the round of six in the state tournament.
Last, but certainly not least, last spring Cheeks won an individual state title for Sonoraville in the high jump at the Class AA state track meet by clearing the bar at 5-feet-2-inches.
Recently, the Calhoun Times caught up with Cheeks to discuss the current basketball season, the Lady Phoenix volleyball team’s success this past season, her state title in track and how she balances three sports with school, among other subjects.
Here’s what she had to say:
CT: Talk about the basketball season so far. Your team is 19-1 to this point. Did you expect this and how good can this team be?
Cheeks: I didn’t know how good we would be at the beginning, but we’ve done really well so far. I think we can go pretty far in the state. I don’t want to say how far, but I know we can do some great things.
CT: Let’s shift back to this past fall and volleyball. What was it like to achieve the level of success the team did and be around a group of girls like that?
Cheeks: We knew we were going to be good, but I don’t think we knew we could make it to the final six in state. That was kind of unexpected. We were a good team, and we didn’t have any arguments or anything so that helped us play better together. I feel like it all came together this year — with both myself and our team.
CT: What was it like winning a state championship last spring in the high jump? Did you expect to do that?
Cheeks: It was kind of weird, but fun at the same time. I didn’t expect it at all because I was ranked like 13th or 14th going in.
CT: What’s it like balancing three sports and school? How tough is that?
Cheeks: Sometimes it’s tough because you get home at 10 or 11 and you still have to do all your homework or study. But you’ve got to find a way to do it.
CT: What’s more exciting for you: hammering down a spike in volleyball, getting a big block in basketball or clearing the bar in the high jump?
Cheeks: I would say getting a block in basketball. It’s my favorite sport so whenever I do something good in basketball, it’s more exciting for me.
CT: Your getting a chance to play with your sister, Becca, this year on the basketball team? What’s that like and how competitive are you two?
Cheeks: It’s fun to play with her, but we definitely get competitive when it comes to points or blocks or rebounds. We always want to one-up the other one.
CT: What’s your favorite memory as an athlete so far at Sonoraville?
Cheeks: Winning at state (in track) was a lot of fun. There’s been so much stuff out of every season I’ve had, I don’t know if I can pick a favorite one.
CT: Which one your coaches has had the biggest influence on you at Sonoraville?
Cheeks: I don’t want to call out anyone specifically because I don’t want to make anyone to be mad at me (laughs). Coach (Stephanie) Caudell has had the biggest influence on me. She’s taught me the most. She always tells us to never give up and whenever you’re tired, don’t stop because you don’t really know what it feels like to be tired. That there are people out there that are more tired than us. So I guess she just helps us to keep going no matter what. Coach Nathan Smith has had a big influence on me too. He believed in me even when I knew nothing about volleyball. He taught me everything I know about the game, and always pushed me to become what he believed I could be.
CT: Who’s an athlete you admire or try to model yourself after?
Cheeks: I really look up to Tim Tebow. He is so into God, and he doesn’t let sports get in the way of that. I like that. I think it’s really cool. I try to do that.
Fast Food: Zaxby's
Movie: Pitch Perfect
TV Show: Castle
Male Celebrity: Zac Efron