PREP CHEER: ‘Be a Christ-like example for my teammates’: Good Hope’s Melanie talks sophomore season

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Good Hope’s Cori Melanie. (Courtesy of Cori Melanie)

GOOD HOPE, Ala. — Good Hope sophomore Cori Melanie has been on the varsity cheer team for three years and the varsity competition team for four years. She talked about her experience on varsity so far and what’s it been like cheering alongside a great group of teammates.

“I have learned during my time on varsity that every minute matters, in practice, performances, and even games. There’s only so much time you get in cheer, and you have to always be prepared going in. Two minutes and 30 seconds is one big routine and there’s only one chance. The team gives it their all in practice and makes every minute count,” Melanie said. “I love cheering with the girls I have cheered with. When my life has difficulties, they are always there for me, no matter what, even the graduates that have already moved on. Being on varsity has given me friendships that I cherish so much. They are always just so good to me.”

Cori has soaked up as much as she can from the past cheerleaders and from her coaches as well.

“The graduates from the Class of 2022 taught me how to be the cheerleader I am today. They shaped me into being the best I could be. My team from this past year taught me and showed me that when someone is faced with an injury, they would step it up even higher and do it for them. From personal experience this past year, with me breaking my wrist and being sick, I was out for some big competitions, but they stepped in and showed me how they would face adversity. They have taught me and showed me some great character traits they have. I’m grateful for the girls.”

She added,

“My coaches are amazing. Coach Brandy Lowe has taught me how to be a leader and stand up for girls that need to be stood up for. She’s impacted and still impacts my life daily. She’s always there, checking up on me. She’s always pushing me and the team to the max because she wants us to be a good, strong, and well-built team. She’s a great coach. I’m thankful for her. Coach Josh and Lacy Stancil mean the world to me. They were my first coaches, and they were the ones who first got me into cheer. They taught me how to be an All-Star cheerleader, which led me into being a school cheerleader. They are always there for me, no matter what. They both are so kind-hearted and love Jesus and it shows.”

“Coach Sydney Chappell is always so encouraging, no matter the circumstances. She’s a great woman and she was my coach on my first ever All-Star team. Six years later, she was coaching me in varsity. I’m thankful to have her in my life. Overall, all four of them are amazing people, but even better coaches. I couldn’t make it without them. They teach me and encourage me every day. I’m thankful and blessed to get to cheer under them.”

Cori has taken away so much from the past senior cheerleaders and she talked about some of her role models growing up, plus about Good Hope’s performance this past season at state.

“My eighth grade and freshman year, I had the privilege to get to cheer with five amazing leaders. Allie Sartin was a great leader to me. She was truly a light to me. Her smile and laugh could always make my days better. Audri Patrick was always trying to keep things positive, no matter the circumstances. She also could make me laugh in any situation. Kayla Quick was a great cheerleader who I will always love. Growing up, when I was a little girl, Paris Stricklin and Raven Adams always amazed me when they were middle school cheerleaders. I always told my mom that I wanted to cheer with them and have the skills they had one day. I worked hard and not only got one year to be their teammate, but two years. It was two amazing years. We accomplished so much during those years.”

She added,

“All five of them were great to me and showed me how to be a leader. They truly made me the cheerleader I am today. They are some of my best friends and I will always be grateful and thankful for them. Ashlin Hamm is the graduating senior this year. She always had great spirit on the mat. She just made the Wallace State cheer squad and I’m so excited to see where that takes her. I have definitely had some great girls to look up to.”

“The experience of state is great. The adrenaline you get at state is like no other, especially getting state runners-up this past season. It was a great feeling. Making it from Regionals to state in both gameday and traditional is very hard. However, we put in the work to make it to state. Our goal this year is to win state. I know we can achieve it. We just have to work hard and get better every day. We have already started to put in the work this year. I think we will achieve our goal.”

Cori has definitely improved a lot on some things over her time as a varsity cheerleader and will definitely continue working hard to get ready for next season.

“From eighth grade to now, I think my stunting skills have improved the most. I have learned how to backspot, main and side base. I have really improved and keep improving with my ability of stunting techniques. I’m grateful to have learned from great girls and coaches. I was awarded best stunter at this year’s banquet. I just knew I wanted to be better and continued to put in the work,” she said. “I am going to put in the work, to build my tumbling. I’m going to have a standing tuck consist this year. That’s my goal and to also have a hand tuck again. My jumps will also be something I will try to improve on. Overall, though, I want to improve my relationship with Jesus and be a Christ-like example for my teammates.”

Cori talked about her individual and team goals for next season and what will make this cheer squad special to watch.

“Our team goals are to win county, win regionals, win state, and to also have a national appearance. My personal goals are to have a standing tuck consistently and have a running hand tuck on the hard floor again,” she said. “This upcoming season is going to be special. We will have five great upcoming seniors and getting to cheer with them one more time will be great. We all have our mind set on winning state and getting to watch the girls already putting in the work is just such a special feeling.”

Cori talked about some of her best memories so far, the best advice that she was ever given, and how much she and the rest of the cheer squad will take going to state the previous years into this upcoming season.

“Some of my best memories cheering was hitting zero deduction routines at Nationals on all four performances my eighth-grade year and coming out with a third-place finish in gameday and a fifth-place finish in traditional. We also won county for a third straight time. I also loved getting to go to All-Star competitions when I was a little girl with some great friends,” she said. “The best advice I have been given is in good situations and bad situations, lean on Jesus. Going to state the previous years will definitely be beneficial for this upcoming year. Every girl will know the feeling of being on the state mat, so hopefully, the nerves won’t be as high. Also, knowing some of the things we have to fix skills-wise from previous years will also be a key factor.”

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