Magness to head first-ever Shorter College competitive cheerleading team

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New head coach Rachel Magness

New head coach Rachel Magness

March 11, 2008

Rome, Ga. - Rachel Harrell Magness has been selected to head the first-ever Shorter College competitive cheerleading squad, which will begin competition in the fall of 2008. With the announcement of this new program, Shorter becomes the first private college in the state of Georgia and one of only a few private schools in the entire Southeast to offer full scholarships to competitive cheerleading athletes.

The new program, which will consist of a 20 member co-ed football/competition squad and a 16 member basketball squad, will be funded with 10 full scholarships, totaling more than $250,000 in scholarship allocations to competitive cheerleading athletes per year. They will compete in the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA), which holds its college championship every April in Daytona Beach, Fla., and includes such teams as the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State University.

Magness, a native of Kissimmee, Fla., came to Rome in 1994 to attend Berry College, where she was MVP of the co-ed-cheerleading squad during her freshman year. Upon graduation in 1998, she began work on what was to become the first All-Star Cheerleading Center in Northwest Georgia, Hot Shots Cheerleading, which she opened in February 1999. Magness went on to coach the first National Cheerleading Championship All-Star teams in the history of Floyd County, and in eight years of All-Star coaching experience, she has coached her teams to more than 85 regional, state and national championship cheerleading titles.

"I could not be more excited about this opportunity," said Magness. "For the first time, Georgia cheerleading athletes can pay for their education at a nationally ranked, faith-based institution through their talents as competitive cheerleading athletes."

As a high school choreographer, Magness has placed teams in the GHSA State Cheerleading Finals for five consecutive seasons, produced two GHSA State Cheerleading Champions in the past three seasons, three consecutive GHSA Region Champions, and in 2007, placed all three of the high schools in her program in the "Top Two" at the GHSA State Cheerleading Finals, including two GHSA 1st Runner-Ups and a GHSA State Champion. Magness has also developed and placed local cheerleading athletes on some of the most successful collegiate cheerleading programs in the country, including University of Colorado, B.Y.U., University of West Georgia, Wallace State College, University of Central Florida, Valdosta State University, Jacksonville State University, Stephen F. Austin University, Kennesaw State University, and the University of Georgia.

"With such a proven record of program development and competitive accomplishment, Rachel's qualifications for leading our new competitive collegiate cheerleading program are undeniable," said athletic director Bill Peterson. "We feel she is the perfect choice for the position. We were able to find national-caliber coaching talent in an established, local professional who will no doubt be an added benefit to the competitive cheerleading community of Northwest Georgia."

Nationally, the Southeast has long been considered the dominant region in the country for competitive cheerleading, and Georgia ranks at the top of the list of the nation's strongest cheerleading states.

"The Rome/Floyd community is already home to some of the most successful middle, high school, and All-Star Cheerleading programs in the state. Thanks to the lead Shorter has taken in fully funding its new competitive program, the Rome/Floyd community will soon be home to one of the finest collegiate cheerleading programs in the country. I am looking forward to this new opportunity with confidence and enthusiasm," added Magness.

Tryouts for the 2008-09 Shorter College Cheerleaders will be held in early May. For more information on the new competitive cheerleading opportunities at Shorter, please contact Rachel Magness at (706) 409-7469 or rmagness@shorter.edu, or visit the Shorter College Athletics Web site, goshorterhawks.com.

Shorter College Cheerleading
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