When Derek Was introduced early last year as the athletic director for Dalton State’s first ever four-year athletics program, the first athlete to call him was Madison Ellis.
Ellis said she would probably have gone to her hometown college anyway, but knowledge that she could be a part of athletics made the decision even easier.
“I contacted Derek Waugh as soon as I heard that they were going to have basketball,” she said. “As soon as they hired Coach (Robyn) Newell I contacted him again to make sure that he knew I was still interested even before I knew they were having competition cheer. I love to cheer so much that I just wanted to be a part of the new program and be there as it grows.”
The Dalton High School senior officially inked with the Roadrunners’ competitive cheer program Wednesday afternoon during a signing party in the DHS common’s area.
“I can’t wait to start working with the college program and getting to meet new people,” Ellis said. “I am going to be really dedicated to it just like I was in high school.”
Ellis is has been a scholar athlete during all four-years of high school. She has had at least a 3.75 GPA each year while being a Catamount varsity football cheerleader and competition cheer for three years. “I was in JV competition my freshman year and was on the varsity after that,” she said.
Newell looks forward to working with Ellis at DS. “She has represented this community in many ways,” Newell said. “Schools in the tri-state area have been an awesome feeder system for our program.”
Waugh was present for the event. “I’m so proud of what Robyn has done for our cheer program,” he said. “She has done a tremendous job of recruiting local athletes and also branching out all over the state and the southeast.”
“What we have been able to do with cheer is beyond my wildest expectations,” Waugh added. “It’s good to have Madison on board.”
I’m going to miss Madison,” Catamount cheer coach Tami Fleming said. “She has been everything that I could ever want in a Dalton High School cheerleader. She is responsible, respectful, dedicated. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe her.”
“She is going to be awesome at Dalton State,” Fleming continued. “The college is getting a really awesome kid.”
An honor graduate, Ellis was a member of the Spanish National Honor Society, Beta Club, Pep Club, and the National Honor Society. She plans to major in early childhood education with hopes of becoming a teacher. Madison is the daughter of Janet and Jeff Ellis of Dalton. She has one sister, Ansley Ellis, 13.