Chandra Edney won’t have to go far to keep spreading school spirit in gyms and on the gridiron.
The Unicoi County High School senior cheerleader made it official Thursday, April 14, signing to cheer with Tusculum College during a ceremony hosted at the high school’s commons area in front of a packed house featuring family, friends, teammates and coaches.
“Tusculum is a really good school, so I was looking into it,” Edney said with a smile. “I even went to a cheer clinic down there. I wasn’t sure if I would keep cheering in college, but I really wanted to. (Tusculum) Coach Jessica (Inscore) talked to me about wanting to cheer. I was excited and I definitely decided to go there.”
Inscore said she knew from the meeting that Edney would be an asset for her program.
“She came to one of the first clinics and just absolutely shined,” she added. “I knew she’d fit in with the rest. The girls just fell in love with her. Her jumps were phenomenal and she’s great at flying. When my team finds someone who they can work with, they get excited, I get excited and it was just a good combination … she’s a bright kid and we just fell in love with her.”
Throughout her four years, and concluding 2015-2016 as a cheer captain with the Lady Devils, Chandra excelled in the classroom and with the squad, which made her a perfect fit at Tusculum, according to UCHS head coach Teresa Parkey.
“She was our captain this year and she did a great job,” Parkey said. “She was very organized and very dedicated. I think she’ll do great at Tusculum; she’s very talented.”
Whether it was at Gentry Stadium or inside the Devils’ Den, Edney led the way by orchestrating cheers to support her classmates. Her growth over the past four years will only continue in Greene County, the Tusculum head coach stated.
“A lot of growth,” Inscore said of what’s to be expected out of Chandra. “We’re going to work with her flying a little bit more. That ‘cheery’ attitude, it’s kind of a pun, but she’s all smiles, all the time. That positivity will be an amazing asset to our team and for Tusculum.”
And not going far to get an athlete makes things interesting, too, she added.
“It’s great,” Inscore said. “I grew up in Greene County and have some kids from there, but to be able to come over here and get someone is great. I came over here and found out her mom knows people I grew up with. It’s kind of a small world, but definitely a blessing in disguise.”
Edney is the second of recent cheerleaders to make it to the next level, including Kiana Watson, who graduated in 2014 and continued her career at East Tennessee State University. Seeing recent teammates make it to the next level only helps the underclassmen, Parkey said.
“We’ve had several that have made it,” she added. “It’s great for the girls to see that to show they can make it, too.”
Chandra also had some words for the younger cheerleaders on the squad.
“Always try your hardest and never give up,” Edney said. “I hit some rough spots during the season, but you’ve got to always keep your head up and be strong about things.”