With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the cancellation of college sports nationwide and impacting Transylvania varsity sports teams' seasons, we celebrate and look back upon the full careers of our Transylvania Pioneer seniors who competed in sports during the spring of 2020.
The Transylvania cheer and dance teams are in a focused and committed mode for 12 months a year, starting officially with the process of qualifying for their national competitions in the early part of the academic calendar, making their presence fully known during basketball season in the winter, and playing active roles in the cheer and dance communities of Central Kentucky all in between.
But the months of March and April represent the pinnacle of the yearlong hard work by the Pioneer cheer and dance teams when it culminates in their final product: their ultimate routines which go on display at the national championships.
The Transylvania cheer team annually ventures down to Daytona Beach, Florida at the height of springtime for the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) Collegiate National Championships. The Transylvania Dance team follows suit by heading west to Las Vegas for the Dance Team Union Championships just a week later.
The effects of the pandemic, which had widespread implications on all of college athletics also touched the cheer and dance circuits, forcing the cancellation of both national championship events for the Pioneers and bringing to an end the careers for a collection of Pioneer seniors.
This season's sudden ending brought an ending final chapter for a group of exceptional seniors who have all been instrumental in raising the profile of Transylvania cheer and dance while being stars on the floor and in the community.
While the two teams unceremoniously concluded the 2020 season without their crown jewel events, this year's cheer and dance seniors left Transy on a high note, collecting the 2020 RAFY award for Team Community Service.
The impact of the Transylvania cheer and dance teams have been felt throughout the community. The teams gave over 500 hours of their time to volunteer with various cheer and dance youth teams and performed other acts of community service. The Dance team also claimed the RAFY award for highest Team GPA, while the senior members again were highlighted as part of the Class of 2020 by winning the RAFY's Inspiration Award.
As an unparalleled 2019-2020 season closes out, the celebration and tributes to this season's Transylvania cheer and dance seniors come from the words of teammates, peers, and coaches.
Megan Little, Senior, Frankfort, Kentucky (Franklin County HS)
"Megan's consistency and dedication are going to be a tremendous loss to the program. Her technical skills and hip hop tricks were ready for the nationals stage."
-Head Coach Tora Carter
"While Megan was on the dance team, she put in an incredible amount of effort into her academics and athletics. This is something I've always looked up to her for because juggling academics and athletics can be tricky. Meg was always on top of her school work and for that, she made outstanding grades. I'm also so proud of Megan for really shining her senior year. Meg hit all her tricks, stepped up to be a leader, and gave it her all in our performances. Among all these things, Megan is an amazing friend and I am going to miss her so much."
-Kristen Hocklander, Junior
Maggie Wallace, Senior, Florence, Kentucky (Calvary Christian HS)
"Maggie's infectious spirit and energy brought an incredible atmosphere to any practice or game. She is always there for her teammates."
"Maggie brought so many smiles to the dance team. Her bubbly personality and contagious laugh are so fun to be around. She always knew how to bring everyone together and lighten up the mood with her humor. I am going to miss her hard work and dedication to our team. But even more, I'm going to miss her great friendship."
Laiken Ross, Senior, Versailles, Kentucky (Lexington Catholic HS)
"I will miss my go-to-girl. Laiken was instrumental in selecting uniform designs and practice gear attire. She brought much creativity and engagement to our social media presence on Instagram."
"Laiken was a game day pro. Her spirit and excitement for Transy basketball set the bar for how everyone should be on game day. She became a great leader to our team and was an amazing captain. I'm going to miss Laiken so much. She is a great teammate, leader, and friend."
Madi Banta, Senior, Lexington, Kentucky (Lafayette HS)
"She is passion and insight. Madi would come up with some of the greatest ideas or things we should try in practice. Madi's love of the sport will be her legacy here at Transy."
"She was the first person I met on the team. She welcomed everyone with open arms. She is so versatile and willing to try anything, and I mean anything new to better our team."
Emily Jackson, Senior, Fort Mitchell, Kentucky (Notre Dame Academy)
"I am so glad she came to Transy to play lacrosse. After one season of lacrosse, she joined the cheer team. She was an exceptional leader. She led the team through her actions, whether it was in strength and conditioning training or locker room talks, she was always there for her teammates.
"She is the type of person who would be there no matter what. She made practice and stunt sessions so much fun. Her ability to motivate our team is unreal! I'm going to miss not having her positive spirit on the mat."
Terralynn Coomes, Senior, New Castle, Kentucky (Henry County HS)
"I could not be more proud of an athlete. During her senior year, I was blessed to witness her marriage. She made a commitment to our team and shared her desire for greatness with everyone."
"Terralynn's dedication to her teammates and this sport are unmatched. She would do anything to make our team succeed. I'm going to miss her ability to help others."
Hannah Puckett, Senior, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky (Dunbar HS)
"Hannah came to Transy as a dancer and was a member of the dance team her freshman year. I was shocked when she told me she wanted to cheer but I am so glad that she made the transition. She is my ultimate Gameday athlete!"
"Hannah is the girl you can always count on to perform her heart out! Her ability to make everyone laugh with her expression and wit was something I'm going to miss about her."