EMCC Cheerleading set for 2015-16 academic year

David Rosinski
Special to Daily Times Leader

As the program continues to achieve summer camp success and compete nationally, the 2015-16 edition of the East Mississippi Community College cheerleading team is primed for the new academic year.
This year’s 22-member EMCC cheerleading team consists of nine returnees and 13 first-year members. Headed by tri-captains Nolin Collymore (St. Martin HS), Lexi Harden (Oak Hill Academy) and Anna McKie (Lamar School), the EMCC cheer squad also returns Hailey Bowie (Forest), Hannah Daugherty (Leroy, AL), Grace Douzat (West Lauderdale HS), Chance Garner (Ocean Springs), Shanae Hunt (New Hope HS), and Cortez Young (West Point). First-year female members of the 2015-16 EMCC cheer team include: Brittany Bell (East Webster HS); Megan Coston (West Jones HS); Natalie Goodin (Neshoba Central HS); Anna Hightower (East Webster HS); Kenzie Johnston (Enterprise HS); Baileigh Payne (Neshoba Central HS); Kayla Pinter (Sebastopol Attendance Center); Patience Rowell (Wayne County HS); and Alyssa Verrett (Pascagoula). First-year male participants of this year’s squad are Dow Hailey (Kemper Academy), Neiko Howell (Starkville), Richard Kelly (Brookhaven) and Greg Traylor (Southaven), along with the addition of Ty Houston (Louisville) as EMCC’s Leo the Lion mascot.
Under the guidance of third-year head cheerleading coach Amy Thomas, the EMCC cheer team heads into the upcoming school year coming off another successful stint at this summer’s Universal Cheerleaders Association College Camp held in Tuscaloosa. After earning Most Improved overall honors in 2013 and 2014, East Mississippi placed second among the Open Coed Division in fight song and sideline competition last month on the University of Alabama campus. EMCC also finished a program-best third in both overall cheer and game day competition during July’s UCA event.
“Every year I get excited for new talent and a new team, but this year I have a different feeling. It's more than just excitement, it's a feeling of determination, dedication and pride that I feel with this group,” Thomas said. “They came in strong, ready to get to work and make a statement, and it showed at our competition at camp.”
A season ago in becoming the first East Mississippi cheer squad in the program’s history to compete at the UCA College National Championship in Orlando, Fla., last year’s EMCC cheerleading team claimed a sixth-place national finish in the UCA’s Open Coed Division Finals held at the HP Field House within the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.