"I just want to say that these are three superstars," Watson Chapel Superintendent Connie Hathorn said. "One thing I can say about the pom squad and the cheerleading squad at UAPB is they're professionals. If you've ever gone to a game and seen them perform, they're the best around."
There were tears of joy, sorrow and celebration Monday as three Watson Chapel Lady Wildcats signed to become members of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Golden Lions spirit team.
The spirit team is under the direction of Karen Blount, who was once a cheerleader for Watson Chapel years ago. The Watson Chapel Wildcats cheerleaders and steppers are under the direction of Kasera Brown.
DeShabrion Williams will be apart of the UAPB pom team, which was recently invited to perform in Houston, Texas, at the Southwestern Athletic Conference basketball tournament whether the Golden Lions basketball teams advance or not.
"I've been watching her (Williams) as she leads the steppers, and her poise and her attitude has been overwhelming," Blount said. "You know if you catch my attention then you're a good one. We're excited to add her to our pom team."
Abby Herrin is breaking barriers at UAPB, as she'll be the first Caucasian cheerleader in the history of the Golden Lions program.
"She's coming to be apart of the team, and by that, she's taken the team to greater heights," Blount said. "I've never had a full Caucasian on the team. I can relate as I was the only black cheerleader on the team when I cheered for Watson Chapel back when I was in high school. I'm going to make sure that I'm there for her, and she's already a part of the family. I don't really look at her as being a different race, I just look at her skill set. It's a plus for the university and it's great for me. It shows that the University is still moving and the direction is up."
CeAnna Blount, the daughter of Karen Blount, has been surrounded by cheerleading all of her life, and to continue the legacy at UAPB is simply a dream come true.
"It's exciting to me because at one point in time I didn't feel like she was going to cheer," Karen Blount said. "For legacy to set in that's a whole different story, and this is legacy. She's shared me with hundreds of other kids. I've always told her I don't need nobody coming to me saying you have her on the team and she doesn't have the skills. She was a top All-American this past June at a cheer camp. It's not a bias thing, it's about the fact that she has what it takes. She's excited to come to UAPB."
For Williams, it took hard work and dedication to gain the status of captain, and she credits Brown for coming in and working diligently with her. As a freshman next year, Williams just hopes to soak it all in, get better, and by her senior year, she plans to be a captain again.
"I started off in ninth grade on the junior high dance team," Williams said. "Ever since then I was determined to grow and be a better dancer. Ms. Brown came in and she helped me a lot. Thankfully, I ended up being named captain for my senior year.
"I hope to learn a lot my freshman year," Williams added. "Hopefully by my senior year, I'll be at the top again."
Being on a college cheer squad has been the goal for Herrin for a while now. She's self-motivated, and she's thankful that Karen Blount was able to give her a chance to move her career forward at UAPB.
"Well, I've been cheering since I've been in the eighth grade, and it's something I've always loved to do," Herrin said. "My coaches over the past year have helped me grow. I've always been motivated to do the best with my cheering career. It's always been a dream of mine to cheer on the collegiate level, and Mrs. Blount has given me those opportunities."
"Going to UAPB I look forward to cheering, tumbling, and having fun with what I love to do" she added.
CeAnna Blount has been bound for this moment in time for quite a while now, even though there was a point where her mom wasn't so sure. Through hard work and passion, she has been a two-time captain during her time at Watson Chapel.
Cheering for her mom's squad will be new, and she expects nothing less than a challenging but fun experience.
"I was captain both my ninth grade year in junior high, and I'm captain now as a senior," CeAnna Blount said. "My mother was also a Wildcat cheerleader in 1981, and she was also a captain. I believe all my coaches that I've had here instilled in me that I have to put my best foot forward, and they've always had great advice.
"I think it'll be a challenge. If you know my mother, then you know she wants to strive to be the best. I've been living with her all my life so being under her direction will be something I'm familiar with."
Watson Chapel School District Superintendent Dr. Connie Hathorn knows each of the three young ladies, and he spoke on their behalves.
"I just want to say that these are three superstars," Hathorn said. "One thing I can say about the pom squad and the cheerleading squad at UAPB is they're professionals. If you've ever gone to a game and seen them perform, they're the best around."