By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain senior Ashley Clark has signed to cheer in college at Tusculum.
She is following in the footsteps of her sister, Hannah, who previously cheered for the Pioneers.
“My sister cheered at Tusculum, and I went to a camp there and a lot of their games,” Clark said. “I kept in contact with the coach, and she offered me a spot.”
Clark said she talked to some other colleges, but she knew all along she was going to the Greeneville, Tennessee school, where she plans to major in nursing.
“It feels a lot like home,” Clark said. “The atmosphere feels like Sylva. It’s not a big school. A few of my friends applied there and got in. I feel like a person there and not like a number.”
Clark has cheered for 13 years, starting with youth leagues.
“I like being involved with my teammates and seeing people improve,” she said. “My mom has a competition team and I do that, and I’ve done varsity for the past three years.”
She said there are positives to both the competition team and cheering in high school.
“I like both of them in their own way,” Clark said. “I like the competition aspect with the fancier uniforms, and I like high school cheering for my friends.”
“She always exudes kindness and friendship towards her teammates,” said Scotti Carnes, who has been her coach throughout her Smoky Mountain career. “She is dedicated, experienced and has been a pleasure to coach.”
“I am beyond excited to have Ashley join the Tusculum spirit squad,” Coach Jessica Inscore said. “I have known Ashley for a handful of years since her sister, Hannah, cheered for me, and I believe Ashley will be an asset to our program athletically and academically. She’s been a part of our TU family for years, and now we get to make it official. I’m so happy she chose to cheer for the Pioneers.”