Cheerleaders continue careers

Several weeks of clinics, hard work with band music routines and almost a decade of cheer events have paved the way for two students to become college athletes. Seniors Meagan Taylor and Kylie Fears are going to be college cheerleaders. Taylor is going to attend Cameron Universitym, and Fears made the University of Oklahoma (OU) all girl cheer squad.

Taylor participated in 12 years of cheer activities before trying out college cheerleading. These included Xtreme Thunder and competitive cheer as well as middle school and high school cheer. To prepare she went to open gyms at Cameron and practiced with them.

“I stunted with them a lot because the main thing is stunting in college cheer,” Taylor said.

During tryouts, there was a two-day long competition, including a cheer clinic on Saturday, which involved a stunt group.

“We learned a band routine and cheer,” Taylor said.

On Sunday, the actual tryouts began. This day included jumps, band dance routine, cheer and four other stunts.

With cheering, she gets a scholarship to help pay for room and tuition.
“I wanted to go to Cameron because it’s cheaper,” she said.

Taylor has already made a few friends and is looking forward to college.

“I love the people that I cheer with, and Coach Ryan Flood is an amazing coach, and I’ve learned so much,” she said. “They don’t get enough credit, and they are a great team.”

Fellow cheerleader Fears has been a part of gymnastics for 10 years and Xtreme Thunder when she moved to Oklahoma. After being a part of middle school and high school cheer, she decided to tryout for OU cheer.

“I started doing privates and putting in a lot of extra hours of hard work and went to the OU cheer clinics to get ready for tryouts,” Fears said.

On the first day she had to do tumbling and stunts. The second day involved standing, tumbling, fight song and cheer routines. The final day was mainly a practice. There were 181 girls who tried out with Fears. She felt scared and nervous before her tryouts.

“I almost backed out, but then I just went for it,” Fears said. “I didn’t think I was going to make it, honestly.”
She was happy the stressful weekend was over due to the long, exhausting hours.

“I was just hopeful that I would make it,” Fears said.

Of all those who competed, only 30 contestants were chosen. This summer, Fears has a cheer camp which involves learning cheers for football and basketball events.

High school cheer coach KC Barrington is very proud of the two. It is a rare occasion for more than one to make a college level cheer squad.

“They’ll both do fabulous things in their college years,” she said.

Barrington said that doing sports in college allows the athletes to learn a special kind of discipline and enjoyment.

“They have to be able to manage between athletics and academics,” she said. “You continue something you love but on a larger scale.”

Both girls have an athletic potential that could lead to a successful future, according to Barrington.