Sallisaw cheerleader signs with UA Fort Smith
SALLISAW HIGH SCHOOL CHEER
Sallisaw cheerleader Kelsey Merrill signed a letter of intent Monday to attend the University of Arkansas Fort Smith on a cheer scholarship.
The multiple-discipline athlete has participated in cheerleading, cross country, track and softball, and was the first Lady Black Diamond to score a goal on the newly formed Sallisaw soccer team.
“Reaching out and being confident in yourself was the main key to getting the scholarship,” Merrill said of what she did to obtain a scholarship. “I personally messaged the coach, and I kept reaching out until I got an answer. Most cheerleaders don’t reach out, and they miss out on opportunities because they don’t.”
“She’s worked hard, putting in hours
SUBMITTED PHOTO and hours of work into dance and tumbling and cheer practices,” said her mother, Ashley Merrill, describing the amount of work Kelsey has invested in her endeavor. “She’s been keeping her grades up ever since the eighth grade when she decided that she wanted to cheer at the college level. She’s been really working hard since then to get where she’s going now.”
Kelsey was awarded the Top Senior scholarship at the Extreme Cheer Camp this summer. She was a state qualifier for the 4×100 relay last spring, cheerleading academic state champ for 2021-22 and Distinguished Academic Achievement Award winner for cheer 2022-23.
Kelsey has been dancing since she was 3 years old, and has been dancing at Muldrow Activity Center for nine years.
Kelsey said the deciding factors in choosing UAFS were that the university offered the courses she wanted to pursue to become a radiologist, and that the campus was close to home.