March 18 2016
Elmira College Cheerleading has been a force on the national level since it began the competition portion of its program during the 1990's. While the team's exploits at competitions across the country cannot often be found on the front page of your local newspaper, you would be hard pressed to find a more successful athletics program in Elmira's illustrious history than EC Cheer.
If you need corroboration of that statement above, take a stroll into the college's Speidel Gymnasium. An entire wall is adorned with banners recognizing the program's accomplishments, highlighted by National Cheerleading Association National Championships in 2000 and 2007. Elmira has certainly become a destination for some of the top cheerleading talent in the country. One such talent is Sami Wyatt '16.
"I fell in love with the program when I came on my recruiting trip and right then knew that Elmira was the place for me."
While garnering honors at competitions throughout the country has been nothing new for the EC senior and her Soaring Eagle teammates, the Binghamton, NY, native earned a different kind of recognition this past week. Wyatt was a featured cheerleader in the newest edition of American Cheerleader Magazine, which has been nationally circulating a quarterly issue of the publication since 1995. Although the Elmira program actually adorned the cover in one issue of the magazine in 2003, Wyatt is the first EC cheerleader to be individually featured by the magazine. She appeared in the stunt school portion of the issue, which gives step-by-step instruction, accompanied with pictures, for coaches on how to execute and integrate various stunts into their routines. The move she is performing in the magazine is a Step Up Remix.
"I think that Sami's feature in the latest issue speaks to how far we have come as a program," Head Coach Amber Myers said. "All of our women have put in so much work in training and refining their skills; however, there are not a lot of outlets and awards out there to show how hard cheerleaders work. We are so proud of her for garnering this recognition and for being not only a great ambassador for Elmira Cheerleading, but also for the sport as a whole."
The appearance in the magazine is a culmination of a lifetime of work for the senior flyer.
"I started cheerleading when I was about five years old and I really loved the sport," Wyatt said. "I have cheered competitively on All-Star Teams in Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas, while I have also coached cheerleading since I was younger as well."
When the time came to make her college decision, Elmira distinguished itself at the top of the pack relatively quickly.
"I was recruited by the coaching staff during my senior year when my team came to compete at the Elmira Winter Classic," Wyatt continued. "I fell in love with the program when I came on my recruiting trip and right then knew that Elmira was the place for me."
She quickly established her place within the program and distinguished herself during her debut season with Elmira.
"She has been a very important part of the team dating back to her freshman year," Myers said. "Being a senior now, she is certainly a leader and is one of our strongest tops and tumblers on the team."
Wyatt's commitment to not only being the best cheerleader she could possibly be, but to also grow the sport of cheerleading came into focus during her first season on Elmira's campus. Her path as a coach began to be paved during a trip she made to the National Cheerleading Association College Camp during her freshman season. She has been working as a high-school instructor with the NCA ever since.
"We go to Boston every year for NCA's and while we were there I was recognized by a member of the organization who thought I would be a good instructor," Wyatt explained. "I have been working for the organization, conducting high-school camps in the summer and winter, over the last four years. It is an exhilarating experience to be able to share some of the knowledge I have gained throughout my career with other young cheerleaders."
"Sami's path to the NCA was a little different than others in the organization," Myers continued. "While some instructors are chosen out of high school camp, Sami was recognized at the NCA College Camp that our team attended. The instructors there thought that she stood out in our program and approached me about her becoming a high school instructor for them. After talking with her, they hired her right on the spot."
Wyatt receives a curriculum from the organization each year, which she teaches in the camps she instructs at. In addition to her feature in the magazine, she has also appeared in the NCA's social media efforts on Twitter and Instagram. Wyatt has excelled in her work with the organization, as she is nominated for the Top Veteran of the Year award.
Her collegiate career has been nothing short of spectacular, as she and her Soaring Eagle teammates have taken first place in their division at 13 different competitions over the course of the last four years. That total includes a National Championship at Cheersport Nationals, held in Atlanta, GA, earlier this season. The team has also posted Top-Five finishes in each of the last three years at the NCA College Nationals, held annually in Daytona Beach, FL. EC earned a Gold Paid Bid to this year's national competition, which is set for Thursday, April 7th, and Friday, April 8th. It will be Wyatt's final collegiate competition as a member of Elmira's competition team.
"We have nationals in three weeks and everyone is excited to get back out there and show everyone what we have been working on," Wyatt exclaimed.
Although her collegiate career at Elmira is coming to a conclusion, Wyatt still figures to be heavily involved in cheerleading moving forward. In fact, she already has some of those big plans in motion.
"Earlier this year, I applied to be a member of the college staff, which provides instruction at various college camps that the NCA holds," Wyatt continued. "Later this April I am also going to be working with the NCA at the World Championships in Orlando, FL, which I am extremely excited for."
You can check out Wyatt's feature in the print copy of American Cheerleader Magazine or online at the following link: CLICK HERE.
Wyatt and the Soaring Eagles are set to continue their spring season on Saturday, March 26th, when the team heads to Providence, RI, for the Advanced Spirit Nationals.