Ragland hopes to continue cheering at collegiate level

Senior Sports Athlete Profile

Sydney Miller, Sports Editor

Senior Zoë Ragland reflects on her lifelong cheerleading career. She said that as a kid, “I always thought cheer was super cool.” Since then, she has cheered for nine years.

She will be attending Bentley University in Waltham, MA with an intended major of finance. She said, “I am 100% definitely continuing my cheer career at Bentley.”
Zoë was a captain her junior and senior years. She said, “I really enjoyed being able to share my love for the sport with my teammates. Seeing every athlete on my team improve every practice, whether that be in terms of stunting, tumbling, flexibility, or motions made me so happy. I loved working with the coaches to make each season a memorable one for every athlete.”
Although she loves cheer, it has not always been easy for her to find perfection.
She said, “Cheer is a sport literally and physically built on perfection. There is a body type that is expected, and it’s really easy to fall in a hole of trying to fit into the box that is expected of cheerleaders. I’ve overcome that as I’ve gotten older, but as a younger teen, especially in middle school, I really struggled with this.”
Persevering through the difficult moments, her most triumphant moment was at last year’s pep rally.
She said, “Pep rallies have always been my absolute favorite thing that we do with cheer at JC. I choreographed the dance for the football players as part of the cheer routine. I was super proud of it. There is no better feeling than performing a routine you’ve worked on for months and having the whole school cheer you on, especially since cheerleaders are usually the ones cheering on others.”
She said, “My biggest inspirations are definitely my mom and my grandma. My mom was a cheerleader. . . I think being brought up in a household where cheer was so accepted has really helped push me to become a better athlete. My grandma did cheer in high school and was also captain her senior year. I think that seeing how she overcame so much and her always cheering me on has been so cool.”
Zoë loves reality TV. “My favorite reality TV show right now is ‘Summer House.’ I have also been watching ‘Modern Family’ lately, and it is hilarious. I definitely recommend it.”
During lockdown to keep moving, Zoë used “Chloe Ting” and said it “was a lifesaver.” Also, over lockdown she said, “Spending time outside during quarantine really helped keep me motivated. There is this park by my house called Cromwell Valley. I really enjoyed going hiking with my friend. I also went to Pot Rocks a lot over the summer and set up picnics.”
In reflection, she said, “Cheerleading has always been one of the biggest — if not the biggest part — of my life.”
The best piece of advice she has gotten was to “just have fun.”
As a senior, Zoë has some advice for fellow Patriots. “Do what you love; try out for that team; go hang out with your friends. Obviously school is important, but high school goes by so fast, so do what is going to make you happy. When you’re old, you aren’t going to remember what your paper was on sophomore year in history class, but you will remember how much fun you had with your friends that one Saturday night.”