NEWPORT—There are many outlets for high school students to realize their dreams of competing at the collegiate level, and Caroline Brawley has found hers.
Over the summer, Brawley made her proclamation of joining the rejuvenated Furman University cheerleading team, as she announced she would attend the Division I institution in Greenville, S.C. beginning this fall.
“I had a hard time deciding,” Brawley said. “I was accepted to a lot of great schools, but Furman presented itself because it was slightly larger for being a small school. Academically it presents a lot of great opportunities, and its cheerleading program is re-inventing itself.”
Under new leadership, the program has been revitalized and reimagined with Anna Catherine English at the helm. English was named to the position in October of last year.
English was previously the varsity cheer coach at nearby Eastside High School, also in Greenville, S.C., were she was named the region’s competitive cheerleading coach of the year.
“The program has a new coach, and the group as a whole really stood out to me,” Brawley said. “Cheering has always been a passion of mine and was something I hoped to do in college. It wasn’t necessarily a make or break deal for me, but when I looked at Furman it was certainly a bonus for me.”
Cheering has been a passion for Brawley from an early age. Along with competitive cheer competitions, she’s made her mark on the sidelines of football and basketball events at Cocke County High School for the last four years, making it eight years total since she began cheering in the fourth grade.
“I’m someone that loves to perform, but cheering goes beyond that,” Brawley said. “It’s a way of supporting others through your performance, and that’s why I’ve always been drawn to it. For me it’s an outlet for all of my energy.”
Assuming the current COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t create any more chaos at the collegiate sports level, Brawley will have the opportunity to realize another dream in her first season with the program by cheering at Neyland Stadium on September 19, when the Paladins are currently scheduled to visit the Vols this season.
Furman’s football season is currently set to begin on Sept. 5 at home against in-state rival Wofford.