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Rebel cheerleader to be a Hilltopper

Beth Fox’s dream is a reality, and she still can’t believe it.
The South Central Junior-Senior High School senior recently went through a four-day cheerleading tryout at Western Kentucky University in attempt to make the cheer squad. In the end, Fox was one of 10 females to earn a spot on the 20-person co-ed cheer squad for the Hilltoppers.
‘It’s been a dream of mine since elementary school,’ she said. ‘I just wanted this so badly.’
Tryouts were held April 16 through 19 at E.A. Diddle Arena, the main athletic facility at WKU. Clinics were held the first three days in preparation for the final tryout on the last day. Much to Fox’s surprise, the cheer coaching staff had cuts on the first day. At the first clinic, about 100 came out for the team from incoming freshmen to returning cheerleaders. Not only was there competition around, but the arena was open to the public, creating a crowd effect.
‘After the first day, they cut it down to around 50, which made me even more nervous,’ Fox said. ‘I expected that they may cut a couple girls but when they cut that many, it really scared me. Instead of worrying about the final day, I had to worry about making the next day.’
Located in Bowling Green, WKU is in transition to a Division I program, meaning they will not only put more emphasis on athletic programs such as football, but also cheerleading.
‘Trying out here at South Central, the most there ever was were 13 or 14 girls and 12 make it,’ Fox said. ‘It was a huge difference with 100 trying out.’
Before Fox tried out, she was becoming more set on attending WKU. Her dream has been to cheer for a Division I school and narrowed her options to WKU and Butler University based on academics. She plans on majoring in public relations and advertising. Three weeks prior to the tryout at WKU, Fox began the admissions process to become a WKU student. When she made the team, she didn’t tryout at Butler; she knew she was going where she wanted.
Now that she has made the squad, she will have a brief summer. South Central’s graduation is June 1, and the first practice in Bowling Green is June 6. Summer practices will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Fox can also participate in open gyms each Sunday between now and June on the WKU campus.
Fox has cheered at South Central since the fifth grade and has also tumbled at All-Starz Gymnastics in New Albany. In the summers, to prepare for a co-ed tryout, she worked out at Gym Tyme in Louisville with male cheerleaders from the University of Louisville. Working with a male cheerleader helped Fox prepare for stunts, which is a big part of a co-ed routine.
The connection to South Central and Bowling Green is strong. WKU puts on a camp each year in Elizabeth, helping out with routines and other cheerleading basics with South Central.
Once at Western Kentucky, Fox will still need to work hard. Among the 20 participants, 16 will make the nationals team, another goal of hers.
‘It would be cool to go to nationals,’ Fox admitted. ‘That is definitely one of my goals along with getting stronger as a cheerleader overall.’
The co-ed squad will cheer at most sporting events, but one in particular got Fox revved up to be a Hilltopper. In March, the Hilltoppers reached the NCAA men’s basketball Sweet 16, meaning Fox could be apart of a large stage of fans next season if the team is successful again.
‘I just got excited, thinking I could be cheering at that next year,’ Fox said. ‘I still kind of can’t believe it. It’s kind of amazing that I will be cheering for a Division I college.’