Baker High senior Morgan McDuffie was recently selected as a member of the Attack Dance Team of the Jacksonville Sharks.
“I’ve always loved to dance and to cheer,” said Ms. McDuffie, a former member of the Baker County Bobcats cheering squad and current member of the Wildcats’ competitive cheerleading team.
She also has experience as a member of the All Stars cheerleading and competitive dance team in Jacksonville.
The Jacksonville Sharks play at Veterans Memorial Arena in the Arena Football League.
Her All Stars coach, Kim Newbern, also coaches the Sharks’ dance team. She encouraged Ms. McDuffie to audition.
About a month ago, aspiring Attack hopefuls were challenged with learning new material and routines at two preliminary competitions. Then came the finals on November 12.
“I liked the finals so much more than the preliminaries,” Ms. McDuffie admitted.
Preliminaries are closed to only a panel of judges, but the final auditions were held in front of a crowd of people which, for the experienced cheerleader, felt much more natural.
“And cheering and dancing was the easiest part,” she said. “It was the interview process I found to be most challenging.”
Each girl was asked questions not unlike those required of beauty pageant contestants.
“I was asked specifically why I wanted to be an Attack Dance Team member,” she said. “I told them I had always cheered and performed and now I was ready to take it to the next level.”
Also a little nerve wracking was the fact that, solely by coincidence, Ms. McDuffie was called to be the very first contestant at the preliminaries and at the final audition.
She was delighted to be chosen and looks forward to the new AFL season starting next March as well as going on to the University of North Florida next fall where she plans to study forensic science and later attend law school.