Ellie Cole: Heart and soul for black and gold | Local News
VALDOSTA— To be a part of a sport is to be a part of a team, a unit, a family.
Varsity sports are not for the faint of heart, due to the amount of dedication and physical activity they require. For senior Ellie Cole, who has participated in competition cheer all four years of high school, being a teammate brings so much more.
“It’s about emotion more than anything,” Cole explained. “The pride you feel from seeing each other do well, and the bonds you form with people you never thought you would.”
This connection with teammates, among many others, are why Cole won the inaugural Black and Gold Award at her senior banquet. The award, which is brand new, is given for not only participating in competition cheer for four years, but being dedicated to the growth of the program, consistently exhibiting leadership, and for being an overall exemplar of a competition cheerleader.
According to competition cheer coach Crystal Ware, Ellie embodies the characteristics of what it means to be a Wildcat. She is dedicated to being the best that she can be, passionate about her sport and never, never quits.
“Since her freshman year, Ellie has been committed to the VHS competition cheer program, and when things got tough she didn’t waiver in her devotion to her own skill, her sport, or our program,” Ware said. “She is the kind of athlete coaches dream about, and I know she will do great things in the future.”
Cole confessed many misconceptions come along with competition cheering because sideline cheer teams get most of the glory cheering on Friday nights, while competition is almost unheard of locally as a school sport.
Cole acknowledged that competition cheer is demanding, requiring girls to be able to do extreme stunts and jumps, but it’s not exclusively for accomplished gymnasts. While there are some girls who have been cheering almost their whole lives, often the girls on the team have had little to no gymnastics or cheer lessons.
“It’s always encouraging to see girls come on the team and go from being barely able to touch their toes to doing splits by the end of the season,” Cole said.
Along with not realizing the role of a work ethic, people typically do not see that competition cheer is “not like how the movies make it seem.” It’s less of cheers and chants while doing major stunts but more of dance routines, with tumbling as well.
The most important part of being on the competition team to Cole is having the chance to promote the team – not only to the school – but to the community through service, fundraisers and of course, winning!
“I think the future of Valdosta High competition cheer will be able to grow exponentially once the new Valdosta High School, with its state of the art cheer facility, is built and the opportunity to hold competitions there is made available,” she said.
As for the future, Cole, the daughter of Valdosta’s Dr. David and Cheryl Cole, is thinking of studying education in college.