Seating more than 100,000 fans each game, the Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium at the University of Texas-Austin can seem overwhelming to anyone on the field, especially when you are only 5 feet tall, weighing a mere 100 pounds.
But for eighth-grader Allyssa Kimball, the cheer captain of Copperas Cove Junior High School, she was exactly where she dreams of being five years from now when she is in college — cheering on this same field for the Longhorns.
Kimball and her junior high squad of 14 cheerleaders plus a mascot got to experience a rally led by the Longhorn cheerleaders and Hook ’Em,the U.T. mascot on the field as part of the Universal Cheer Association camp at the University of Texas. The girls learned dances, cheers, and stunts to utilize in the upcoming school year in addition to traditional cheers.
“Being a captain is about more than just being in charge. It is about being a role model and being there for your teammates in case they need help with a cheer or if they are having problems within the team,” Kimball said.
Of the 15 cheerleaders and mascot on the squad, all were new except for three returning cheerleaders including Kimball. The squad also got two new coaches this year, Katherine Seyfried and Veronica Martinez.
“The biggest challenge to start with the new squad is getting the girls to work as a team and to trust each other,” Seyfried said. “Cheerleaders are athletes in the fullest. They must keep in shape to keep up with the speed and agility required for routines as well as the strength required to perform stunts, lifts, jumps and to execute each movement with intensity.”
Kimball and Leighann Roche both tumble or cheer outside of CCJHS and both were named All-American cheerleaders at the camp, earning the opportunity to participate in special events such as the Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“I have worked for seven years to get where I am today and the opportunity to be on the All-American squad just shows me that all of that work has paid off,” Kimball said.
Seyfried said cheering in the UT Stadium was exciting for all of the girls.
“We had several on the squad who were excited to take pictures and talk with the UT cheerleaders as they have aspirations of cheering at the university level as well. It was a great opportunity for them to see what possibilities there are outside of junior high and high school.”
The squad was also credentialed by the Universal Cheer Association, which allows them to cheer competitively.
The Copperas Cove Junior High School Bullpup cheerleaders recently attended the Universal Cheer Association camp at the University of Texas-Austin and won multiple awards.
- Mascot: H2O award (trophy and Gatorade brand cooler) and Spirit Stick.
- Team: Second place sideline cheer game day competition (trophy) and Spirit Stick,
- Individual: Pin it Forward (cheerleader that exhibits what it means to be a cheerleader and recognized in front of camp with others) — Allyssa Kimball.
- Individual: All-American Cheerleaders — Allyssa Kimball and Leighann Roche.