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Cheerleader of the Year Competition - Advice!

We recently sat down with the 2023-2024 Cheerleader of the Year winners and runner-ups to get an insight on the competition, preparation process, and offer advice to those from the Class of 2025 who will participate in this year's competition!

SB | Sara Boleware - South Forsyth High School

5A-7A Winner

SD | Sophia Dait - South Forsyth High School

5A-7A Runner-Up

JS | Jadyn Singleton - Savannah Christian Prep School

A-4A Winner

MW | McKenna Wright - Starr's Mill High School

A-4A Runner-Up

What did the COTY process teach you?

SB - The COTY process taught me that being an all around athlete is the most important at the end of the day. You could be a great athlete, but unless you focus on school and giving back to your community just as much it won’t matter. This process was definitely long, but it taught me if you really want something you will work hard for it to happen.

SD -This process helped me build confidence, develop interview skills, and choreograph a performance. I made new friends, lasting memories, and had one of the best days of my life. 

JS - The COTY process taught me how to interact with others, while learning how to perform in front of a crowd alone and have the confidence to enjoy every moment of it. I also learned how to properly interview, that will help me in the future.

MW - The COTY process taught me to be a better leader. I was responsible for leading my stunt group and calling extra practices when needed. Accountability is another skill I practiced through COTY. This was an individual competition, and I held myself accountable throughout every step of the process. I was in charge of filling out my application, creating my own routine, and preparing for the interview. I also participated in another athlete’s COTY routine for which I was held accountable to do my job in her routine as well. Lastly, when given the freedom to build my own routine, I was able to learn more about myself as a cheerleader. I was able to create a routine that would play to my strengths and abilities, which allowed me to be more confident in myself and my teammates. 

What was your most valuable experience of the COTY process?

SB - The most valuable experience I had with COTY was getting the opportunity to interview with judges. Interviews haven’t always been my thing, but getting to do this one definitely helped me get more comfortable with them. I was very nervous, but it turned out to be super fun, and now interviews are not nearly as bad.

SD - The most valuable experience I had with the COTY process was making it to second place. I was at the beach when my coach called and told me I was nominated. I was so excited to get to go because I never thought I would get nominated. I worked hard to create a routine and perform it to the best of my ability. After performing and having my interview they called the top 16. Hearing my name was an amazing feeling. The day got even better when they called my name as runner up. It was a feeling I will never forget. Hearing my best friend's name called for first place was an even more exciting feeling. Winning this honor with my best friend made this day truly an unbeatable experience.

JS - My most valuable experience of COTY is being able to be myself and be confident whole also performing and doing what I love.

MW - For me, preforming a routine by myself with my stunt group took a lot of intense preparation, self-confidence, and trust in both my teammates and my former training. The entire COTY process was challenging, but it was definitely a very rewarding experience. The COTY interview was extremely valuable for me. Being able to think quickly and to communicate clearly are important life skills. I found this interview portion of COTY to be a very insightful experience and  learned a lot from it. 

What advice would you give cheerleaders applying this year?

SB - The most important thing to remember is just because your performance was amazing, that does not mean you will be in the top of the finalists. This scholarship is way more than cheer, and is meant to show you as a person more than your cheer abilities. Being a well rounded person will pay off. Most importantly have fun while performing, because there is nothing like it!

SD - The advice I would give cheerleaders applying is to be confident of yourself and be proud of your accomplishments. Write about the amazing person you are. Include everything you have achieved. Once you get nominated, the interviewers and the judges can tell if you are confident in yourself and your skills. Have fun and enjoy the day with your friends and family. 

JS - Advice I would give to cheerleaders this year is to be confident and have fun! Do not let the pressure of performing alone stress you out, but rather embrace and enjoy every moment of the whole process.

MW - Go for it! COTY is a great experience no matter the outcome. You will undeniably learn so much from it, and it is a great way to challenge yourself to be the best cheerleader you can be. COTY is not just about being a talented cheerleader, it also encompasses your leadership, academic abilities, interviewing skills, writing essays, and being a well-rounded athlete.  I believe that the experience of going through the COTY process helped me to succeed when it came time for me to try out for the UGA cheer team!  Another piece of advice is to make sure you stay on top of deadlines and take time to create a routine that best fits your skills. Of course, be confident in yourself throughout the process and have fun!

We are currently taking nominations for 2024-2025 Cheerleader of the Year! Visit to nominate your senior!

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