Bainbridge cheerleader named All- American

Published 5:40 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Bainbridge High School senior Haylie Wilkinson started tumbling at an early age at Murkerson’s Gymnastics and Cheer Training Center. Her mother, Jennifer, even said she did flips in her stomach when she was pregnant.

If there is one thing Wilkinson was born to do, and has a passion to pursue, it’s cheerleading.

Last weekend, she hit a cheer milestone that opens up new opportunities for her career.

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She was chosen as an All-American at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Cheer Camp last month, and honored with an instructor award that let her tryout for an instructor position with the national FCA Cheerleading Squad. Thirty girls were in attendance, only five of them high school seniors and the rest were college cheerleaders.

After trying out stunts, dance, cheer and tumbling, Wilkinson went home and crossed her fingers.

Last Saturday, she got the call that she made the national team. This summer, she will be sent to an FCA cheer camp somewhere in the U.S.

“It’s kind of humbling,” Wilkinson said. “I want to tryout for cheer in college, so I really wanted to be exposed to what different girls had, because I’ve been with the same girls since seventh grade.”

Since she was a little girl, Wilkinson has been a Georgia fan, so cheering for her favorite team would be perfect. FCA National Cheer Camp puts her one step closer to her dream.

“It’s teaching girls about Jesus, and it’s doing what I love, which is cheer,” Wilkinson said. “It’s a win-win situation.”

Currently, she is training in Tallahassee to get better.

“It was a big deal,” BHS cheer coach Lea Hawkins said. “She’s got what it takes to take it to the next level.”

Wilkinson said she fell in love with cheer because it fits her personality.

“I’m really outgoing and bubbly,” Wilkinson said. “And I like that it is a team sport. Even if I did my absolute best, unless everyone works together, then it is not going to work. And that is kind of encouraging. It gives you a reason to be a part of something. It’s like a second family.”

Wilkinson will find out in May which FCA cheer camps she will be instructing around the country.