Sabrina Conley nervously made her way to the bulletin board, searching for the cheerleading roster. For the past five days, she’d given it her all during tryouts, pushing herself and stepping out of her comfort zone to try something new. As she read the names on the list, her heart beat faster and when she found the one she recognized, her heart skipped a beat. She had made Bunker Hill High School’s varsity cheerleading squad!
Conley’s road to becoming a varsity cheerleader had been a long one. The Catawba County native has competed in Special Olympics for nine years, trying her hand at aquatics, athletics and bowling, but she always came back to cheerleading.
“Sabrina has cheered on three different special needs teams over the course of eight years because she absolutely loves cheerleading! She can’t get enough of it,” explained her mom, Lisa Carroll.
She also can’t get enough of participating in Special Olympics which has helped Conley grow as a person, both on and off the field of play.
“Sabrina has become more social in our community and been able to participate in sports that she would never have been able to before, all thanks to Special Olympics. She has learned the proper way to compete and have a good attitude even when not in first place. She’s more confident in her abilities now,” continued Carroll.
It was the confidence that gave Conley the final push to try out for her high school team. After spending her first two years of high school watching the cheerleaders at pep rallies and games, the 17-year old decided it was her turn.
“She’s become more outgoing at school and has a few friends on the cheerleading team. When the tryout dates were announced, she was so excited to go out for the team! The tryouts were harder than she expected them to be, but she didn’t give up and it paid off!” said Carroll.
Pay off it did. Conley has had a whirlwind few months with making the cheerleading team and attending her first prom. She has an exciting summer planned with camp and traveling ahead. But she is most looking forward to the 2015-2016 school year when she gets to put on her Bears’ cheerleading uniform for the first time.
Congratulations Sabrina on being named the Special Olympics NC 2015 June Athlete of the Month!
Favorite Vacation: Niagara Falls – she went with her Girl Scout troop in 2014 and wants to go back.
Favorite Restaurant: IHOP – because you can get breakfast any time!
Favorite Animal: Dogs
Favorite TV show: Dance Moms