“Yes, I think I’m an athlete,” said Hailey Collier, a cheerleader who has only lived in the area since March but is already making a splash in the cheerleading world.
Collier, a senior, is on the cheerleading squad at Enterprise High School.
Although born in Enterprise, Collier left the area with her family when she was seven or eight. She eventually found her way to cheerleading for both Newport and Eddyville high schools in Lincoln County, Oregon.
The 17-year-old said she doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t pursuing cheerleading.
“When I was really little, my mom coached cheerleaders in La Grande and then Newport,” Collier said. “I went to every one of their practices -- I cheered with the girls, I stunted with them.”
Collier said she got involved in individual competition about a year ago.
“It’s mostly teams involved,” Collier said. “You sign up to go to competitions, you get entered into your level and from there, it’s intense practice before competition.”
It didn’t take long for Collier to become involved upon her return. From March to the close of the school year, Collier was a student at Joseph Charter School, though she had her sights set on Enterprise High School.
“I don’t know how long I can go without cheering before I go crazy,” she said.
Collier knew the Outlaws’ cheer squad coach, Mandy Decker, who was a family friend from years past who had also coached cheerleading and knew Collier’s mother, Lisa Collier. Although the team hasn’t held tryouts for the 2017-2018 school year, Decker invited Collier to attend a recent cheerleading camp in Pullman, Wash. There, because of her outstanding abilities, learning and leadership skills, she was selected by the United Cheer Association to cheer on its All-American team.
“It’s a nation-wide team,” Collier said. “They nominate you for a tryout, and you try out in front of 20-judge UCA panels, and the camp sits with the panel.”
Collier demonstrated to the observers what she had learned a great deal. After the judging and critiquing, Collier was chosen for the All-American honor, The hand-picked team will cheer during the World Day Parade to be held in London, England, on Jan. 1, 2018.
“I’m wanting to do that,” she said. It’s just getting the money together at this point.”
Collier and her family are already preparing for the trip, having begun an account for that purpose at Community Bank in their daughter’s name. Interested citizens can donate. The family is also planning other fundraisers.
Decker, the EHS cheering coach, said Collier is a valuable asset to the squad and was one of eight cheerleaders who made the trip to Pullman.
“She knows a lot,” Decker said. “You’re always a little nervous bringing on someone new, especially a senior, because you never know how they’ll click with the rest of the girls, but she was amazing at camp and very supportive and positive toward the rest of the girls. She’s a positive addition to our squad.”
Collier herself said that those who just look at cheerleaders as court or gridiron decorations who dance and wave pom-poms around couldn’t be more wrong.
“They don’t see the hours and hours of hard practice and conditioning,” she said. “It’s not the physical but the mental blocks. You have to push through the roadblocks to get in new tumbling, new stunts and new flexibility. You have to be willing to push past those roadblocks and work for it.”