Hard work and good attitude pay off

On Monday, nine Kenai Central High School cheerleaders joined hundreds of others from across the country in a pre-show performance before the matchup between Louisiana State University and Purdue University at the Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

Kenai athletes who played the field Monday included seniors Malena Grieme, Cali Holmes, Maya Montague, Brooklyn Reed, Kaitlyn Taylor and Genesis Trevino, as well as junior Ella Romero and freshmen Makenzie Harden and Sylvia McGraw.

“It was more people than I’ve ever seen in one place,” Montague said of the experience Wednesday. “I feel like I’ll never be able to experience anything like this again.”

Montague said there were packed stands, fireworks in the air, and planes flying overhead.

“You look up on the big screen, and see yourself,” she said. “My heart was racing.”

“Being on the field was one of the craziest experiences of my life. I’ve never experienced anything cooler,” Grieme said. “It was crazy to have all that energy. It makes you really excited to do what you’re doing.”

Grieme said she was intimidated by the number of people watching, but that the energy and the pace were so high that she didn’t sweat it.

“It gives me the chills,” KCHS head cheerleader Brianna Force said. She explained that her team was the only representative from Alaska, and that they found themselves in a stadium filled with 60,000 people.

The Kardinals earned their spot on the field by winning the Herkie Team Award during their annual summer camp with the National Cheerleading Association. Representatives of the association attend and evaluate each member of the team at the camps.

The Herkie Team Award, Forto explained, is given to squads that exemplify the qualities on which the association was founded – leadership, values ​​and teamwork – and is the highest award given at NCA camps.

This is the second time Force has taken on Kenai cheerleaders who won the award, she said. In 2019, she took five athletes to Florida, but then the COVID-19 pandemic prevented further opportunities.

Force said she went into this 2022 summer camp knowing her team had what it took to win the award as long as they could keep their spirits up. That belief was validated.

In addition to the honor awarded to the team, Harden and Holmes were each individually awarded the All-American Cheerleader Award at the camp.

The Kenai athletes left for Florida on Thursday night, spending Friday through Monday in Orlando. Forto said they got into the routine of learning in advance, and they spent mornings and afternoons in practices.

The teams had some opportunity to mingle, and Montague said they spent most of their time around Alabama athletes because the teams were organized alphabetically. She said they compared climates and school environments.

“Every time we told someone we were from Alaska, their eyes popped out of their heads,” Grieme said.

Forto said her team had something extra to take from the experience than the other athletes participating from the Lower 48. In Alaska, her team has no other opportunities to perform in such large or well-attended venues. Hometown soccer games have a different atmosphere than stadiums packed with fans.

The value of the experience was not lost on the players.

Grieme hit the field for the Citrus Bowl just months after breaking her ankle. In December, she was still using crutches.

“That’s the first thing I could do,” she said. “It was really cool for me to be able to do it and be out there and do everything as normal instead of being held back by injury.”

Montague, a senior and team captain, said the experience was extremely emotional for her, being able to represent Alaska with her team during her senior year of high school.

“It makes you realize that all the hard work you put in and all the extra hours when you feel unmotivated makes it all worth it,” she said. “There’s no other group of girls I’d rather be out there with.”

That’s the takeaway Force said she hoped her team carried, both as student-athletes and in the future: that their hard work and good attitudes could pay off.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

Does hard work beat talent?

Members of the Kenai Central High School Cheerleading Team (back row, left to right): Kaitlyn Taylor, Sylvia McGraw, Malena Grieme, Maya Montague, Cali Holmes and Genesis Trevino; (front row, left to right): Makenzie Harden, Ella Romero and Brooklyn Reed pose for a photo at the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl on Monday, Jan. 1, 2023, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. See the article : The Dallas Cowboys tackled the offense. (Photo courtesy of Brianna Force)

Work can help individuals develop their talents and achieve tremendous success. Talents become useless and naturally fade over time if they are not put to good use. By working towards a goal, one can not only capitalize on their talent but also grow their abilities beyond the scope of their natural gifts.

Is talent better than hard work? Hard work versus talent The common saying, “Hard work trumps talent when talent fails to work hard†is one of the most profound statements ever made in this regard. If you are not convinced, you can read the life stories of some of the most remarkable people in history.

Who wins talent or hard work? So whether you have talent or not, you will always have to work hard. Besides, talent is something you either do or you don’t have. But work ethic is a habit you can develop that will get you so much more in life. That’s why hard work always trumps talent.

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