As the end of summer approaches and students enter the new school year, the student-athletes and staff of the Bobcats cheer program are already hard at work preparing for their inaugural season. The group has been busy during the summer months creating a competitive program that will begin a new Georgia Northwestern tradition.
Led by Georgia Northwestern Head Cats Cheer Coach Karen Stoker, the Bobcats Cheer program consists of 16 recruited cheerleaders from high schools across the Tennessee Valley.
The members of the pilot season line-up for Cats Cheer are Rachelle Blansit (Dade County HS), Marlena Brock (Rome HS), Tara Clark (LaFayette HS), Larissa Douthit (LaFayette HS), Makayla Derryberry (Ridgeland HS), Amber Edwards (LaFayette HS), Destiney Ervin (Ridgeland HS), Desirea Famber (Dalton HS), Jessica McMahan (LaFayette HS), Destiny Runyan (Coosa HS), Nicolesha Russell (Ider HS), Alex Smith (Ridgeland HS), Maggie Tharp (Dade County HS), Rhys Turner (LaFayette HS), Paige Vaughn (North Sand Mountain HS), and Mina Winters (LaFayette HS). In addition, also taking part is dual-enrolled (LaFayette HS) student-athlete Amber Edwards who will serve as “Shredder” the Mascot for the first season.
The Bobcat Cheer roster includes student-athletes from Rome, Ga., to Ider, Ala., and everywhere else in between. “Bringing the individual experience and talent developed at their respective high schools, these student-athletes have come together this summer to take their talents to the collegiate level,” said Stoker. “We are blessed to have students of this caliber.”
During the first season, the team will be joining the Bobcats Men's and Women's NJCAA Basketball teams and cheering during their contests at pre-determined games in the region. The athletes are also preparing for a competitive run beginning in the 2014 season.
The plans are for the team to be competing within the National Cheerleading Association, a national organization that is comprised of college competition cheer programs from around the country. “It’s the measuring stick that college cheer programs use each year,” said Stoker. “We plan on taking on the challenge and doing quite well. We will do our part.”
The Cats Cheer program is also reaching out to the community this year. The team will host the First Annual Cats Cheer Extravaganza on Sept. 23 as an opportunity for younger cheerleaders to be exposed to competition cheer before they reach the middle or high school levels. The event will include school and recreation cheerleaders from around the area. “The squads will be able to compete and/or showcase their programs for the cheer community across the valley,” said Stoker.
Georgia Northwestern freshman student-athlete Desirea Famber (Dalton) takes part in summer drills at a Cats cheer workout. The inaugural intercollegiate cheer squad will make their first public appearance Sept. 23 at the First Annual Cats Cheer Extravaganza at Saddle Ridge Middle School.
- Photo2 by Don Foley