Cassidy Thompson, 18, poses for a portrait sitting atop a pile of weights at the Northgate High School gym in Newnan, Georgia, on May 5, 2017. (HENRY TAYLOR / HENRY.TAYLOR@AJC.COM)
Photo: Henry P. Taylor
Photo: Henry P. Taylor

High school cheerleading player of the year

Cheerleading Player of the Year

Cassidy Thompson, Northgate

Achievements: Class AAAAA state champion 2015-16. Region 5-AAAAAA champion and Class AAAAAA state champion 2016-17.

Position: Main base/back spot

Height/Weight: 5-foot-3, 115.

Class: Senior

College choice: Hawaii Pacific University

Why Hawaii Pacific? When looking for colleges, I knew I wanted to pursue my passion for cheerleading. I decided I wanted to do acro and tumbling in college and looked up the colleges that offered it. Hawaii Pacific University stood out to me because they have a very competitive program, and I felt like it would be a good fit for me. I also believe that God has a bigger plan in Hawaii for me, not just with acro and tumbling. The opportunity to learn from and work with people from around the world was too great of an opportunity for me to pass up.

Best high school moment: Winning state both times was an unforgettable experience. There was nothing quite like my senior year, leading the team to the ultimate victory alongside my other senior teammates. Winning my senior year with my sisters was like a dream come true to me. Stepping onto the mat for the last time was extremely emotional. Coming off the floor knowing that we did our absolute best and accomplishing our goal of winning state made me, teammates, and coaches extremely proud.

Why cheerleading: I grew up doing gymnastics for 12 years, but I decided to use my talents for cheerleading when I got into high school. Going from gymnastics to cheerleading was a big change for me and required me to learn new things, one of the biggest being going from competing individually to competing with a team. Now that I have experience from being on a team, I believe that transitioning into acro and tumbling will allow me to utilize my talents in both gymnastics and cheerleading.

What you’d like to be doing in 10 years: When thinking about a college degree, I have thought about a career in marine biology. I would possibly even want to coach for acro and tumbling team someday. Overall, I want to make a difference in this world spiritually. I would love to lead kids my age 10 years from now. Being a follower of the Lord means a lot to me, and my true passion is share the word of God.

Favorite high school course: My favorite high school course would be British literature. I really enjoy our intriguing argumentative discussions over different topics. I also really enjoyed weight training because I got to strengthen my body while at school which I used for cheerleading and will use for acro and tumbling.

People who helped along the way: My mom, coaches, teammates and friends have encouraged me every step of the way. Sarah Frazier, my high school cheerleading coach, helped me get this far by not only being my coach, but guiding and helping me to pursue my dreams at the college level. I couldn’t be more thankful for all the positive influences in my life that the Lord has blessed me with.

Toughest high school opponent: Starr’s Mill was one of our toughest opponents because they always blew the crowd away with their facial expressions and their ability to perform on the mat. They also had very clean stunts and tumbling. Starr’s Mill pushed Northgate to become better.

Favorite movie: “The Shack” is my favorite movie because it shows that no matter what situation you are faced with, God will always be there. This movie inspired me with my faith in the Lord.

Favorite song: My favorite song would be “Confident” by Demi Lovato because it is a song that completely turned my junior year cheerleading season around. This song changed the mentality of the team by allowing us to feel more confident as a whole. It is crazy looking back at the fact that we changed our entire routine and music based on this song the week before region.

Worst high school moment: My worst moment in high school was junior year when I broke my tibia, cracked my femur and partially tore my PCL/LCL because of tumbling. I was on crutches for a while and it held me back from my training for five months. Although I felt like I was behind from not being able to condition, I pushed myself to regain the skills needed to strengthen my team for the season.

If you could be any other athlete on earth: I would be a figure skater because I love ice skating. Figure skating requires balance, dedication and hard work. These are all characteristics that have shaped me into the athlete I am today.

Money or happiness?: I would choose happiness because I would rather be happy than have money. Money is just temporarily where happiness is eternal. You can’t take money up to heaven.

Best word to describe yourself: Weird. I would confidently say that my friends, teachers, coaches and teammates would agree with me. It is what makes me who I am.

View of the world at the moment: The world, in my eyes, is strange because of my religion. I view the world as a temporary place to stay.

What you would put in a time capsule: I would put my senior-year cheerleading scrapbook that my teammates made me in the time capsule. When I got the opportunity to open the capsule, this scrapbook would bring back memories of my VICE (Vikings in Cheer Excellence) family.