Cass' Swanson signs to cheer competitively at Young Harris

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Cass senior Siarra Swanson had practically given up the idea of playing cheering competitively at the collegiate level even after a friend on the Young Harris squad invited her to an open gym.

Swanson went along just to have fun.

"My friend goes there, and she invited me," she said. "She thought I would enjoy it, I went with her and I did."

It's pretty easy for Swanson to say she enjoyed it considering she ended up with a college scholarship, which she signed Wednesday inside the Cass High gymnasium, out of the deal.

To be clear, she didn't walk out of the Young Harris gym with an offer the night of the open gym. But Swanson did enough to catch the eye of Mountain Lions head coach Jason Williams and jumpstart the recruiting process.

That's the way to turn an open gym into an impromptu tryout.

"We just did a couple of stunts and tumbling," she said. "[Williams] said he really wanted me, and he liked what I had."

There was plenty to like about Swanson's abilities, but the thing that impressed Williams the most was how comfortable the flyer was in the air.

"I saw when she was in the air, she had a lot of confidence," Williams said. "I knew that she would fit in great with our program. She has a nice demeanor. She's a good student, so that's what we look for in our athletes."

It's been a few years since Swanson has been a part of a competitive cheer squad. She started competing in middle school but hasn't participated in the sport since her sophomore year. Understandably, she didn't expect to have an opportunity like this one come up.

"I did competition cheer since my eighth-grade year," she said. "I stopped cheering [after] my sophomore year. I planned on going to college to cheer, and then I decided to drop it and I didn't do it. This just kind of fell in my lap, and I ended up getting a scholarship for it."

It's a chance of which Swanson plans to take full advantage. She said Wednesday she felt "blessed to have this offer."

"I'm really excited and really happy about it," she added. "I'm excited to see what comes and what new things I'm going to learn."