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Sanders earns spot on TSU squad

Celeste Sanders has cheered and lived in Pike County her entire life.

Now, she will continue for a few more years.

Sanders found out Tuesday that she was selected for the Black Squad at Troy State. She will cheer for the Trojans on the all-girl squad and will represent the Trojans at all home games.

"I found out about 9:45 this morning," Sanders said. "I went to my grandmother's office and my mother's office and called my dad.

"I really didn't think I would make it because there was so much competition."

Sanders is a senior at Pike Liberal Arts School, where she has cheered at one level or another since she enrolled. She started cheering for Troy Recreation football teams when she was 5 and joined the squad at Pike Lib 10 years ago.

Her instructor at Pike Lib was not surprised to find out Sanders made it.

"That is wonderful," PLAS cheerleader sponsor Katie Scott said. "Celeste is a very well-rounded cheerleader. She is very talented."

Sanders elected to try out for the Black Squad for several reasons. The Cardinal Squad is a co-ed squad that attends all the football games, home and away.

"I didn't really want to do all that traveling my first year," Sanders said. "I want to rush and not have to worry about my grades. I think your first year is your hardest, so I don't want to make it harder by doing all that traveling."

Sanders also said the stunts are different with co-ed cheerleaders than all-girl cheerleaders. Although she said she was familiar with the co-ed stunts, she said she was not confident in her ability yet.

Sanders elected to attend Troy State before she tried out for the cheerleading squad. She received a leadership scholarship that paid 100 percent of her tuition. It is a one-year renewable scholarship potentially worth as much as $33,000 a year.

"That made my decision pretty easy," Sanders said.

Sanders will also receive a $500 scholarship for being a member of the cheerleading team.

Sanders will spend the summer teaching cheerleading camps across the state with UCA.