There’s only one thing Kianna Miller loves about cheerleading: Everything.
“You feel like you’ve got a team of all your best friends, your sisters,” said the Sequim High senior last week.
And while Miller, her fellow graduates-to-be and thousands of students across Washington state saw their school year end abruptly and somewhat unexpectedly this March thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, she did get to say hello — virtually — to a whole new group of best friends and sisters.
Miller was selected one of six incoming freshmen to be part of a 21-member cheer squad at Western Washington University in Bellingham this fall.
Captain of the SHS cheer team, Miller helped lead the Wolves to a sixth place finish in the WIAA State Championships at Battle Ground High School, was recognized as an All-American and represented the All-American team in London over winter break.
Without a chance to audition for the WWU squad in person, Miller and other students from across the state got a chance to audition virtually. She and others got materials they needed (cheers and dance numbers) via a Youtube link and had 24 hours to submit the routines plus previously recorded footage of stints, jumping and tumbling, she said.
Miller competed in gymnastics for about eight years before following in her sister’s footsteps in joining the SHS cheer squad in high school, first on junior varsity as a freshman and then varsity as a sophomore.
“It seemed like a natural fit (to do cheer),” Miller said.
At SHS, that meant cheering at athletic events (football, basketball, etc.), special events and competitions.
Miller said she enjoys both event- and competition-focused activities.
“I like the games because I like supporting other people (but) the ’the competitions were an incredible environment,” she said. “Everyone is so supportive.”
Miller was already looking at attending Western Washington before the cheer tryouts: her enrollment at the Whatcom County school was confirmed in October.
As for an area of study, she will once again follow in a family member’s footsteps by looking to major in elementary education (Miller’s mother Sonja is a teacher at Sequim High).
Spring cheer practices for the WWU team have been moved to August, tentatively, as the squad prepares to root on the Vikings in volleyball and soccer in the fall, and basketball teams in the winter.
“Obviously,” Miller notes, “this is ‘To be determined’.”