Sha­nen Croft be­comes first Cheer Cat from Trion High

The Catoosa County News - - COMMENTARY - By Scott Herpst

The Trion High School cheer­lead­ing pro­gram has been one of the best in north­west Ge­or­gia and one of the best in the state over the past decade with five Class 1A state ti­tles and sev­eral other top five show­ings to its credit.

But the Blue-andWhite had never had a cheer­leader go on to join the squad at nearby Ge­or­gia North­west­ern Tech­ni­cal Col­lege…un­til last Tues­day.

In front of fam­ily, friends and her en­tire THS cheer squad, Sha­nen Croft signed her let­ter of in­tent to join the one-time na­tional cham­pion Cheer Cats, be­com­ing the first Trion cheer­leader to try out and make the squad.

“It means a lot,” the se­nior said. “I just had knee surgery three months ago and I could barely walk. Now I’m back cheer­ing, which I didn’t think I’d be able to do so soon, so it re­ally does mean the world to me right now. It’s ex­cit­ing and a lit­tle in­tim­i­dat­ing. There’s just a bunch of emo­tions.”

Like most cheer­lead­ers, Croft has been lead­ing the cheers since she was a young girl. She was don­ning cheer­leader out­fits while watch­ing older si­b­lings play in rec league games be­fore she was even old enough to be­come an of­fi­cial rec league cheer­leader her­self.

“I think my first year of rec cheer­lead­ing was about age five or six and I’ve stuck with (cheer­lead­ing) ever since,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve missed a year.”

Cheer Cats head coach Karen Stoker said she was “ex­tremely thrilled” to add Croft to the squad for the 20182019 sea­son, adding that her new­est re­cruit brings lead­er­ship and ded­i­ca­tion to the team.

“One of the first things that drew me to her is her true pas­sion for cheer­lead­ing,” Stoker said. “That pas­sion for the sport and the spirit of (cheer­lead­ing) is what makes her a pos­i­tive fit for our pro­gram.

“She’ll be a strong side­line cheer­leader for us, as well as an ex­cel­lent base in stunt­ing. Her pos­i­tive at­ti­tude is un­sur­passed and her dance skills are un­matched.”

Stoker said Croft’s of­fi­cial Cheer Cat try­out was strong.

“Her cheers and chants were marked by sharp mo­tions, tight fists and lots of en­ergy,” the coach con­tin­ued. “Her dance was cute and well-ex­e­cuted with great mo­tions, flow and en­ergy. Her smile will re­ally draw the crowd’s at­ten­tion.”

Trion cheer coach Kelly Vireze called Croft “a won­der­ful girl”.

“She works hard, 110 per­cent of the time and she’s a leader, with­out ques­tion,” Vireze ex­plained. “She knows what she’s do­ing and she gets in there and does it. You don’t have to ask her to do any­thing.

“Per­son­ally, she’s just a kind-hearted young lady. She wor­ries about her team­mates and she makes sure that things are the way they are sup­posed to be.”

“I have a re­ally good lead­er­ship qual­ity about me,” Croft added. “It’s just easy for me and I just like peo­ple, a lot. I think that’s a good qual­ity for a cheer­leader to have.”

Croft plans to study Phys­i­cal Ther­apy.

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