Sallisaw cheerleader signs with UA Fort Smith
Sallisaw cheerleader Kelsey Merrill signed a letter of intent Monday to attend the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith on an incentive scholarship.
The multi-sport athlete competed in cheerleading, cross country, track and field and softball, and was the first Lady Black Diamond to score a goal on Sallisaw’s new football team.
“Reaching out and having faith in yourself was the main key to getting the scholarship,” Merrill said of what she did to get a scholarship. “I personally messaged the coach and kept reaching out until I got a response. Most cheerleaders don’t reach out and miss opportunities because they don’t.
“She worked hard, put in hours
PHOTO SUBMITTED and hours of hard work in dance, tumbling and cheering practices,” said her mother, Ashley Merrill, describing the amount of work Kelsey put into her business. “She’s been keeping her grades up since eighth grade when she decided she wanted to cheer at the college level. Since then, she’s been working really hard to get to where she’s going now.
Kelsey received the Top Senior Scholarship at Extreme Cheer Camp this summer. She was state qualifier for the 4×100 relay last spring, state college champion in cheerleading for 2021-22 and winner of the Distinguished Academic Achievement Award for cheer 2022-23.
Kelsey has been dancing since she was 3 years old and has been dancing at the Muldrow Activity Center for nine years.
Kelsey said the deciding factors in choosing UAFS were that the university offered the courses she wanted to take to become a radiologist and that the campus was close to her home.
By Lea Lessley Sportswriter
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