AHS Cheerleaders join the Pack
As the end of the school year approaches, many of our Apex seniors are getting closer to the next chapter of their lives. While their time cheering on our Cougars has come to an end, two of our very own Apex cheerleaders made the North Carolina State University cheer team. Seniors Ally Taft and Sarah Bond will move on to become part of the Pack. I got to ask Taft a few questions about her journey and thoughts on this major accomplishment.
Q: When did you first start cheerleading?
A: I began competitive cheerleading when I was nine, and I began school cheer in middle school.
Q: How do tryouts work? Can anyone tryout?
A: You have to have applied to State, submitted transcripts, and test scores in order to tryout. Tryouts began on April 20. We arrived early to give them all of the paperwork, and then we were evaluated. This consisted of learning a small cheer that they do at football games called “red and white”, creating two stunt sequences to show the coaches, and practice tumbling. On Friday I was evaluated in tumbling, and on Saturday I came at 10:00 A.M. to do my stunts and cheer! Sarah and I hung out with my brother who is on the team already until they announced who made the team!
Q: Around how many people tried out?
A: There were about thirty new people to tryout in person, and I heard that a bunch of people submitted videos to be evaluated. In total, about seventy new people tried out!
Q: Did you know all along that you wanted to cheer at NC State?
I was actually never set on cheering in college or where I wanted to go. The cheer team has clinics (camps) where athletes come and work with the team and get a feel for the program and improve. My brother is on the team, so I went to a few. After the first one, I completely fell in love with NC State and the cheer program! Everyone was so welcoming and quick to answer any questions I had about college. I really felt like I was at home, and I thought it would be a perfect fit for the next four years.
Q: What were the odds that you would make the team?
A: The NCSU cheer team is well established and very competitive. Both of the cheer teams actually won nationals this past April. Going into tryouts, I was really nervous since a spot on the team is not easy to get and keep. I just listened to the advice of my brother and other people on the team in terms of what stunts to show. I have great versatility as a base (the one holding the girls up) and that really gave me an edge up. I also worked hard the months leading up to tryouts in order to make sure my tumbling would be perfect. I didn’t go into tryouts thinking I would get a certain outcome, but I’m very happy about the one I got!
Q: How has being an Apex Cheerleader prepared you?
A: Going into high school, I quit competitive cheer and just cheered for Apex. Being on this team definitely helped me prepare! Apex has always had difficult routines and tumbling passes, and it kept my skills up and also built my confidence as a cheerleader. I learned how to work with people, put on a show at games, and be an even better cheerleader.
Q: Do you have an idea of what you want to study at NCSU?
A: Currently I’m in the College of Education, but my subject is undeclared. I know I love working with kids, so I’m thinking of a career surrounded by them. I’m planning on changing my major to human biology and working towards becoming a pediatrician.
Q: Is there anyone you’d like to thank for your major accomplishment?
A: I’m giving a big thanks to my cheer coach freshman year, Courtney May! She was an NC State cheerleader, and I always looked up to her for that; she also pushed us in the classroom to earn the grades to be accepted into NC State. I also want to thank Coach Barton (Anderson), Coach Mann, and Coach Taylor. They pushed me on the mat and as a person. All of these coaches helped shape me into the person and cheerleader that I am as I embark on my journey at NC State University.
A big congratulations to Taft and Bond! We know you will make Apex High School proud as you move on to join the Pack!