‘It was a dream come true:’ Cullman’s Kacie Griffith talks cheer career

Former Cullman Cheerleader Kacie Griffith. (Courtesy of Kacie Griffith)

CULLMAN, Ala. — Former Cullman Bearcat Cheerleader Kacie Griffith graduated from Cullman High School in 2018 and her cheer career continued on the plains at Auburn University. Kacie talked about her experience at Cullman, starting with the beginning of her journey with the JV squad in ninth grade all the way to her to college cheering career at Auburn.

“It was amazing. I was a gymnast my whole life, then I started with All-Star cheer at Extreme, a local gym in Cullman. I always looked up to a lot of the Cullman cheerleaders when I was younger. It was really special to be in that position and to support Cullman. I really enjoyed it,” Griffith said. “I learned how to be a good teammate and work with others. I was really able to learn how to problem solve. I learned how to manage time, especially with being on a competition team. It was definitely hard at times to balance that, being a teenager, and being in school, but Cullman High school cheer really taught me to be a better, well-rounded individual.”

Kacie talked about what all she learned from her coach, Erica Ball and what she enoyed most about her time with her.

“I can’t say enough great things about her. She is incredible and very kind. She’s a selfless woman who loves cheer. She was a cheerleader when she was younger, so it was awesome to be coached by her,” Griffith said. “We learned a lot of cheer stuff from coach Ball, but I just really learned character from her. She was always putting the Lord first in everything she did. She was just a big role on our team. Us doing things for the Lord, coming together as a group, she was great at team bonding. She always wanted us to be really close. She was pivotal in that. I also learned on how to just be myself. She was always so great on wanting everyone to be themselves, do the best we can. She was our cheerleader in a sense. She was always cheering and rooting for us.”

Kacie has cheered for Auburn for three years and talked about what that experience has been like for her.

“When I was a little girl, I always dreamed about cheering for Auburn, but I knew I did like all girls, like I was lifting up the flyers and being thrown up. I put it in the back of my head like, ‘That might not work.’ I didn’t get into Auburn my first year as a student, so I was at a community college: Southern Union. I was living in Auburn when I was going to a different college. I knew I wanted to have some aspect of cheer still in my life, so that dream was on hold. I started working out at gymnastics and cheer gym at Auburn. I met a guy who cheered on the Auburn cheer team. He was a coach there. He wanted me to go to an open gym there, so I went.”

She added,

“From there, it was just a story of my dream coming true because I made the cheer team in 2020. We had tryouts in October, and from there, it’s just been an amazing experience. I’ve gotten to live out my dream cheering at Auburn, but also, it’s given me so much to the community. We do a whole bunch of community service where we don’t compete. It’s 50% cheer, 50% ambassadorship. We do service projects, appearances at preschools, nursing homes, things like that. It’s a good mix. It’s definitely been the highlight of my time there.”

Kacie has soaked up so much during her time at Auburn and her time in high school definitely helped her get prepared for college.

“It definitely means a lot to me. I’ve grown so much as a person from this program. My heart for service has grown, so it has definitely helped me see what I want to do in life, which is helping others. This program has helped me so much and it taught me that if you work hard, that hard work will pay off. Keep being a hard worker and keep pursuing things. Our team is so close. All three years, we’ve had a different team. We’ve had people come and go. I’ve learned the importance of community and it’s just been a good time.,”

She added,

“It was a great starting point for me because my love for cheer grew when I was a high school cheerleader. It definitely helped because I knew I wanted to cheer for Auburn. I love to cheer, but also, I’ve loved Auburn since I was a little girl. Growing up as a high school cheerleader, I was thinking, ‘Maybe I can be an Auburn cheerleader one day.’ Cheering for Cullman was absolutely incredible but having that goal and keeping that in the back of your mind, ‘Maybe I can do this at the next level.’ It was a dream come true. I never thought I would make it, so it’s definitely kept the fire burning. I started out loving it and I kept that passion.”

Kacie talked about cheering opposite of her fellow Bearcat Ashton Story at last year’s Iron Bowl.

“At the end of the day, we’re doing something that we love and enjoy, cheering for our schools. It doesn’t matter to me that she’s cheering for Alabama. The experience of cheering against Ashton, what an honor. I used to lift her up and she was my flyer, so it’s come full circle. All I can say is the Lord’s good. It brought us from cheering at Extreme to high school, winning state, placing well at Nationals, and doing all of these awesome things, to now. He’s put us at our dream schools, and it was pretty much a full moment of gratitude.”

Kacie is so proud of Ashton for reaching her goal of cheering in college.

“I’m very proud of her. Ashton’s super talented. It comes down to passion. Anyone can cheer in high school and that’s great, but you have people that are so passionate about it, and I always saw that in Ashton. She was built different. She’s so good at cheer. I’m so proud of her and I never doubted her at all.”

Kacie gave some advice to those girls that want to be where she’s at right now.

“You have to remind yourself how much you love cheerleading because you can get worn out easily, but when you have that goal and you know what you want to accomplish, stay on goal and keep that same passion because once it pays off, it’s indescribable. You look back and you’re like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that actually happened.’ Keep your passion and stay goal oriented. Trust the process because even if you don’t make it, the times that you tried, grind, and work hard for, that’s also a win too. You tried your best, but maybe the Lord has something better for you. Trust in whatever it is, and it’ll work out.”

Kacie talked about two of her favorite memories from her time at Auburn.

“My first favorite memory was just putting that uniform on for the first time. Most people would be like, ‘You didn’t cheer on the field,’ but I got to wear that Auburn uniform. It rained that game, but it was the best day for me. I was like, ‘I can’t believe I accomplished this.’ I was so grateful. Another memory was when I would walk home after a game, and I would pass a little girl in my uniform. They would run up to me and get a picture taken with me. That brought me to tears, just seeing the impact you can make on others. It’s just cool to see how others feel, like, ‘I can be doing this one day.’ You’re living their dream.”

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