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CHS Cheerleader Motivates the Crowd as Member of All-State Cheer Squad

Cleburne High School varsity cheerleader Morgan Marvell has joined an elite squad of spirit raisers in being selected for the Texas Girls Coaches Association 5A/6A All-State Cheer Team.

                Marvell, who will be cheering for the Jackets for the fourth year following auditions for 2022-23, is the first CHS team member to achieve the All-State recognition. She and fellow squad members will showcase their game day skills at the TGCA 5A/6A All-State Basketball Game taking place July 13 at Arlington Lamar High School.

                Her leadership, as team captain, coupled with her skills and abilities as a two-sport athlete and involvement in school and community activities made Marvell an ideal candidate for the All-State Cheerleader recognition, according to CHS Cheer Coach Christian Hardin.

                “I nominated several members from our varsity team for the recognition,” Hardin said. “Morgan is very strong in all the areas included in the selection criteria with her GPA and academic performance, her cheerleading skills, her community service and level of involvement as a student at CHS.”

                “Morgan is also very determined—and selfless,” Hardin said. “She did a great job as cheer captain this year and will be returning as captain next year. She never fails to put her team’s needs before her own. She’s always two steps ahead and never backs down from a challenge. Morgan has high expectations for our team and pushes her teammates to rise to those expectations. She has inspired me as a coach to push through and reminds me every day why I love coaching.”

                While many of her teammates started out as peewee cheerleaders, Morgan was engaged in handstands, roundoffs and somersaults, as a gymnast beginning at age five. The spring before her freshman year, she decided all those years of tumbling would be an asset, as she contemplated trying out for the CHS cheer team.

                “I felt high school cheer would go hand in hand with gymnastics,” Marvell said. “Since all my friends were trying out for cheer, I thought I would join them. I felt I had a lot of the skills for cheerleading, but in gymnastic performance, your moves are flowing and elegant, while in cheer they should be precise and sharp. It took a lot of practice getting ready for auditions. I was so nervous.”

                That practice made perfect, as Marvell made the varsity squad as a freshman. Now, with her final high school audition behind her, four years on varsity cheer will be posted on her senior year resume. While she says she swapped gymnastics for cheerleading, Marvell credits the years put into the sport to the success she has experienced as a spirit leader.

                 “I jumped into cheerleading and never looked back,” she said. “But I have also used what I learned in what I do as a cheerleader. As a gymnast, you are wired to finding what’s wrong in your performance or technique and perfecting it.”

                Hardin agrees, noting the technical mind and eye Marvell brings to practice and game day. It is also reflected in her overall athletic abilities, performance and drive to succeed.

                “Morgan is very technical in her jumps and stunting,” she said. “It’s very easy to teach her, and then she’s great at communicating that to the team. The team dynamic would not be the same without her positive work ethic and leadership. She is the first one to practice and the last to leave. She is a rare, exceptional athlete that every coach wishes they could have the opportunity to lead.”

                In her sophomore year, Marvell became a two-sport high school athlete in choosing to compete in powerlifting.

                “Going into my freshman year, I went to summer workouts, which included working with weights,” she said. “Everybody told me I should do powerlifting. The next year, I decided to go to a powerlifting practice with a friend. Coach (Jason) Payne was very encouraging—I think he saw some potential in me. From that first practice, I decided to join girls powerlifting.”

                As a rookie, she advanced to Regionals and placed first in her weight class to qualify for state. Payne said Marvell’s performance was among the surprises at the contest, as she exceeded the amounts she was projected to lift. Like Hardin, he saw the drive and determination in his new team member, who would go on to finish in second place at the state girls powerlifting championships.

                In 2022, Marvell ended the powerlifting season as a state champion. After the success of her sophomore year, and seeing what she could achieve, she wanted more.

                “I knew I wanted to take first at state, but I knew it would be harder, as I had moved up a weight class,” she said. “It was a class with more competitors, and I would have to lift more. Everyone around me encouraged me. They knew I wanted this, and they wanted to push me to achieve that want. As a team we pushed each other and finished third at state for the second year.”

                “People ask me if I do sports, and I begin with powerlifting, then cheer,” she said. “A lot of times, they look at me funny after I tell them. But really, the two sports have the same mechanics—you’re lifting cheerleaders or you’re lifting weights.”

                As she prepares to put the wraps on what has been a very successful junior year, Marvell is happy to find herself at the top of the pyramid in being chosen an All-State cheerleader.

                “I’m super excited,” she said. “I’m a little nervous because I’ve never done this before—but I’m definitely excited. Going into my senior year, I’m wanting to add the skills and style necessary for college cheerleading. I would like to cheer at the University of North Texas. I want to be an anesthesiologist, and UNT appeals to me as a college, with their cheer program—and they have a powerlifting organization.”

                She’s also getting ready for a summer of cheer camps and what she hopes to be achieved by the CHS cheerleaders in 2022-23. The varsity squad will be 25 strong, with 15 on JV.

                “I’m a big planner,” Marvell said. “We want to make the top 20 at the UIL Spirit State Championships. It’s going to take hard work, because just as we grow in our skills and performance, so do other teams. For sure our skill level is there, but the work starts now.”

                Marvell, who credits her parents in raising her how to balance a full schedule starting with those early years in gymnastics, is a member of Exchangettes, Health Occupations Students of America, National Technical Honor Society, National Honor Society and Student Council. She has been serving as vice-president of Key Club and will be the chapter president in 2022-23.