By DOUG DONNELLY
OTTAWA LAKE – A trip to Alma College is just what Kennedy Murray needed to take the next step in her cheerleading career.
The Whiteford senior officially announced this week she will attend Trine University in Angola, Ind. and participate in cheerleading. It was a trip to a camp at Alma College with her mother, Whiteford cheerleading coach Melissa Roth, where she discovered Trine and Trine coaches discovered her.
“I didn’t really know about Trine until I went to the cheer clinic,” said Murray, 18. “I found out about them there and found they had everything I was looking for. It was a very good match.”
Murray started high school at Adrian Madison, where she had participated with the Trojan competitive cheer program during middle school. A few weeks into her freshman year, she transferred to Whiteford, where she joined the sideline cheer program.
“I really enjoyed it right away,” she said. “I liked the people I got to meet and going to the football games and bonding with the cheerleaders and football players. It was a great experience.”
Up until she was 12, Murray was involved in gymnastics, then she discovered cheerleading. It turned into something she loved being a part of. She is believed to be the first Whiteford athlete to attend college to cheer. The school hosted a ceremony for her this week and her family when she made the announcement official.
“It’s something I just really enjoy,” she said. “It was pretty special and important for everyone to be there.”
Murray plans on majoring in mechanical engineering.
“I’m really good in math,” she said.
She also would love to find a way to incorporate another one of her passion’s – art – into college.
“I might just keep that as a hobby,” she said. “I really like working with my hands, fixing things. That’s where the mechanical engineering comes in.”
The cheer clinic at Alma was set up so students could learn more about colleges and cheer coaches from those colleges could work with prospective students. Murray made her visit to Trine a while back and made her decision.
“Angola is not too far from home, but far enough away,” she said. “It just felt like the perfect match for me.”
Murray plans to move to Trine in early August.
Trine University has fewer than 5,000 students and located just over an hour from Murray’s home in Lenawee County. She said she will decide later if she will be part of the Game Day cheerleading unit that cheers at home football and basketball games or the competitive cheer squad that travels and competes in competitions against other schools.
“I don’t really care what team I go on,” she said. “I just want to be there and be a part of it.”