Multiple Teams · Whitney Bauer balancing the demands of a student-athlete

Every year for the past 22 years our society has been reminded of the famous ESPY speech by Coach Jim Valvano. The line that gets the most attention from that speech is “don’t give up, don’t every give up.” For sophomore Whitney Bauer this is evident in everything she does, whether it be on the soccer field or on the cheer mat.

Bauer is one of the few athletes that has been able to handle two activities within one season. For the last six months Bauer’s life has been consumed with soccer, cheerleading and school. Bauer served as goalie for the Lady Hawks Soccer team this season, as well as a key member of the LC Cheer squad during the fall season. She is currently preparing for a trip to Orlando to compete in the 2016 National Cheer competition.

Bauer has been part of the LC cheer program for the last 5 years. She credit her involvement to Former Coach Renee Wright. “She convinced me in the fifth grade to come and try out and I ended up making the team and I have loved it ever since.”

Bauer serves as a base for the competitive cheer squad. First year Head Coach Danielle VanderMolen says “Whitney mostly is a base on the team, which means she puts another person in the air. She is strong and able to put another person in the air. She makes it look easy.”

VanderMolen has been impressed with Bauer’s work ethic. “During practice she is wanting to get in there and work on the routine so it can get to perfection. She doesn’t quit when something gets hard or doesn’t work the first time. She is willing to keep on trying until she can get it right. She always has a positive attitude in everything she does.”

Bauer certainly doesn’t mind putting the time in to perfecting the team’s routine. “It takes a great deal of endurance to cheer competitively. The 2.5 hours of practice helps build up my stamina. The trust makes it fun because we have to trust each other on the mat, and it makes our friendships off the mat stronger.”

Contrary to cheer Bauer has only been playing soccer for the last three years. When asked how she got involved with soccer Bauer simply says, “My parents decided to sign me and my sisters up for recreational league and I just fell in love with soccer after that.”

This past season Bauer stepped up when nobody else would as the Lady Hawks were seeking someone to take the place of Sierra Mullins, who served as goalie in 2014. Coach Becky Hawkins was elated when Bauer stepped up to fulfill the goalie position. “In a time when the Lady Hawks were in need of a goalie, Whitney selflessly volunteered. She had no experience and put in 100% in the role. She learned and asked questions. She went out of her way to become a better goalie by even practicing when there was no team practice.”

Bauer originally thought that the goalie position would be easy, but as the season started “it was difficult because I kept trying to go out of the box and play like a defender.” As the season progressed Bauer became more comfortable in the position thanks to her never give up attitude. Hawkins reflects on the importance of Bauer this past season. “Her strengths were her desire to do better and her relentless ‘never give up attitude’. She also has pretty quick reflexes and hand-eye coordination.”

Bauer was able to be committed to two activities during a three month period. “It was a balancing act. I had cheer practices at night so I would go to soccer right after school and then I would go straight to cheer and when I wasn’t at cheer practice I was at soccer games. Both activities require a lot of endurance. Running around for eighty minutes is just as hard as stunting and tumbling for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.”

These days Bauer’s focus is on cheerleading and is committed to help the cheer squad to compete in Nationals coming up in early February. After that, Bauer is committed to participating in Club Soccer with the Flames from Elizabethtown. Hawkins admits, “They actually called and sort of recruited her to play on the Flames. This extra time in the box (goalie) will help her to work more on her reflexes and ‘reading’ strikers. This time will also help them to read and help one another on the field.”

With the “never give up attitude” it is safe to say that Bauer will continue to only get better in the next two years both on the pitch and on the mat.