Meredith Page and family

Smoky Mountain senior Meredith Page (second from right) signs to be a cheerleader at Mars Hill. With her are, from left: her mother, Jennifer Page; her sister, Madison Page; and her father, Adam Page.

Being a cheerleader in college is not something Smoky Mountain senior Meredith Page had planned on doing. In fact she didn’t cheer in high school until she was a senior.

But when school starts in August, she will be cheering for Mars Hill. She signed to cheer for the Lions last week in a ceremony at the high school.

Page had cheered in middle school and for youth teams. She went out for cheerleading as a freshman, but didn’t make the squad. She credited her friend Denise Richmond, a cheerleader, with convincing her to give it another try as a senior.

“My friend Denise talked me into trying out,” Page said. “I’m happy she did.”

It’s a decision she has not regretted.

“I really did enjoy it,” Page said. “We were going to do competition so we came up with some really cool stunts and routines. Even though we didn’t go to competitions, we still used those things for football and basketball, and it made me want to try out for college.”

Page was already considering Mars Hill. As her interest grew, she emailed a counselor she had been communicating with and asked about the possibility of trying out for cheerleading. The counselor put her in touch with Danielle Plimpton, Mars Hill’s cheerleading coach.

After the two met, Page sent videos to Plimpton as part of the process of trying out. She soon heard back that she had been selected to be part of the team.

“When I found out I made it I said, ‘Mom, I really want to go there,’” she said.

She plans to major in chemistry.

“I absolutely love the campus,” Page said. “My (older) sister had looked into going to Mars Hill, and she came back and told me how much she loved the campus and how beautiful it is. That made me want to add it onto my list of colleges. When I toured the campus this year, I fell in love with it. I feel like on a smaller campus you get to know everyone a lot more. I’m really excited to go to college and cheer and get to meet new people and have new experiences.”

“Meredith was a pleasure to work with,” said Scotti Carnes, SM’s cheer coach. “She always brought dedication, spirit, leadership and versatility to the team while showing kindness and friendship to all of her teammates. She always entered practice with a smile on her face, which was contagious to others. She’ll make an amazing cheerleader at Mars Hill.”