It is not every day that a college athlete starts a tradition on a university campus.
There aren’t many who can say they have been a part of this progression from the very beginning. Stacey Kyne, senior from New Berlin, Wis., is one of the few that has. Among other campus activities, Stacey’s main priority is her devotion to the All Girl cheerleading squad at the University of West Georgia (UWG). It is especially remarkable that certain participants in UWG athletics have been some of the few who have gained consecutive first place titles. Even though UWG cheerleading has set the bar high, it has not always been such an easy road for the Co-Ed and All Girl cheerleading squads. In 2002, the UWG Co-Ed cheerleading squad earned the first place title that set the standard for the upcoming years. Shortly after, in 2004, the All Girl squad also received first place. However, that streak did not last long. It took six years before either squad on campus gained the first place titles back.
In 2010, as normal, both squads traveled to Orlando, Fla, to compete at the Wide World of Sports. Kyne, a freshman at the time, joined a full set of both college men and women ready to compete. It was then that both squads received their first place titles back. Not only was this a memorable time, but a fresh start for the newcomers and UWG athletics. More success followed as the All Girl squad continued to place first for the following years. Last spring was also the first time that All Girl was able to compete in Division 1.
This January marked Kyne’s senior and final year competing with the All Girl cheerleading squad. Once again she traveled with the team to compete in Orlando. This three-day event is prepared for all year long. The team cheers at football and basketball games during the fall and spring, and they have practices multiple times of the day while still taking on a full academic load; the National Championships are where it all pays off.
Though the All Girl team has carried the first place title for UWG Cheerleading the past three years, the Co-Ed team was the one to place first this year. All Girl did receive an award for second place, which still proved their great dedication to UWG. Kyne and the rest of All Girl were disappointed, but still took pride in their hard work and the cheerleading department as a whole. Regardless of the outcome, it is quite an accomplishment to have maintained such consistency while receiving these high ranked titles over the years.
Kyne first handedly experienced the challenges and changes that have been made within the cheerleading department at UWG over the past four years. From new coaching methods and athletic directors to new faces in every year, these wins are self-fulfilling for Kyne.
“There is no better feeling than having three national titles,” said Kyne. “Especially because there is only one group of girls in West Georgia history that also has three titles.”
The past three years have not only been successful, but a growth for these teammates. In midst of sideline, national, tumbling and stunt practices every day, this group has become a family.
“We come from all around the United States and all have different backgrounds,” said Kyne, “but we all share the same love for the sport.”
Each member’s personal background and enthusiasm for the sport is what brings home these first place titles.
Kyne is not the only one who has other obligations outside of cheerleading. Many of these cheerleaders have a full academic schedule of 12 or more hours on top of internships and jobs. Not only is that a lot of pressure, but also working hard everyday to perform a two minute and thirty second routine weighs very heavily on a student athlete’s shoulders. Kyne, who is also involved in other campus organizations aside from cheerleading, has learned to manage her time very wisely.
“Each semester I try to take 15 or more hours so I can graduate on time,” said Kyne. “I also have a job at the East Carrollton Recreation Center and an Internship with the Villa Rica Police Department.”
As many of these cheerleaders graduate this coming spring or summer, their feelings and love for the sport will continue to grow. Most cheerleaders who cheer at UWG on scholarship have cheered their whole lives. However, Kyne’s gymnastic involvement through her elementary and middle school years is what motivated her to begin cheerleading in high school. Not all high school athletes are as fortunate as Kyne to come to a college fulfilling a dream that they are so passionate about. But it is safe to say that Kyne and her teammates have really shown their spirit and competitiveness for this school over the past four years.
Now, with graduation around the corner, Kyne’s favorite hobby will soon be coming to an end, and UWG will have to continue the tradition without her and the several other graduating men and women. However, Kyne has no fear that the legacy will continue.
“I am so excited to leave the West Georgia cheerleading program to see what these girls can do in the future,” said Kyne.