3 Victoria natives cheer together at UT
Jan. 8, 2018 at 9:48 p.m.
The spirit of about 100,000 Texas Longhorn fans roared at the first home game of the football season.
Freshman cheerleaders Bailey Daniel and Kora Stines were in awe as they entered Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium at the University of Texas at Austin.
"During the national anthem, I looked around and got chills," said Stines, 18.
The familiar face of sophomore cheerleader Haley Grosenbacher eased their nerves as it brought back memories of cheering with Victoria United, a competitive cheering squad that combines Victoria East and West cheerleaders.
"It made it more special to all be out there together," said Daniel, 19.
Daniel, Stines and Grosenbacher have come a long way since they cheered together in Victoria.
While all three girls didn't attend the same school, their relationship with cheering brought them together.
"I've known Haley since I was about 4 years old, and it was really cool to grow up together," Daniel said.
The two met at the Manning Gymnastics Centerplex during a gymnastics class.
Stines began training at Victoria Gymagic when she was 8 years old.
"I would take some classes at Manning for cheer, where Bailey and I were in some tumbling classes," Stines said.
Stine and Grosenbacher cheered together at Victoria East High School, while Daniel attended Victoria West High School. The girls came together after Daniel filled in for another cheerleader on Victoria United.
"That experience pushed me to cheer in college," Daniel said.
Grosenbacher was the first to leave Victoria after she was accepted to the University of Texas at Austin to study mathematics.
When she tried out for cheerleading, she noticed how competitive the team is.
"Most girls on the team are from bigger cities and have more experience, but Manning really prepared us, and we had great coaches," Grosenbacher, 19, said.
With only a few spots open for newcomers, Grosenbacher made the white squad, an all-girls team that cheers at home games, volleyball games and women's basketball games.
"They evaluate your presence, skills, learning abilities and personality to see how you represent the university," Grosenbacher said.
A year later, Stines followed in her mother's footsteps and applied to UT. She has not declared her major.
She joined Grosenbacher on the white squad after trying out through a video submission.
Daniel said she had always wanted to go to UT and cheering was just a bonus.
She has not declared her major either, but after she tried out for cheerleading, she joined the orange squad, a co-ed team that cheers at home games, out-of-town games and men's basketball games.
"I feel very thankful and blessed to have an opportunity that not everyone gets the chance to do," Daniel said.
While all three girls made the teams, each and every week, they continue trying out for spots to cheer at home games.
"They want to make sure that everyone is keeping up with their abilities, and it makes you work harder every week," Daniel said.
Cheering on two different squads may mean two different schedules, but that doesn't keep them apart.
"We are doing separate things, but we are all still together in a sense," Daniel said.
All three girls cheered at every home game this season and were excited to experience it together.
"Coming from a small town with a small stadium to a place like Austin where the games are televised is crazy," Grosenbacher said.
Daniel said while they aren't in Victoria, cheering together makes it feel more like home.
"It makes me feel more comfortable to be with people that I've known forever," Daniel said.