Dalton High School Catamounts

May 10, 2013

Lady Cats’ Chastine cheers on

When it came to college choices, Lexi Chastine had no interest in Young Harris College.

But on Thursday, when she signed a combination academic and cheerleading scholarship with the school near picturesque Brasstown Bald in Northeast Georgia — the state’s highest point — the Dalton High School senior could credit a botched French test for helping her make a smart choice.

“I wasn’t going to go to Young Harris even for a visit,” Chastine said.

“I was totally against it. But I lost a bet with my dad. I went on a visit and just fell in love with it.”

The bet was over a grade on a French test. Chastine didn’t meet her father Brandon’s standard, so off on a visit she went.

Now, the flyer and tumbler who trains locally at the Creative Arts Guild in Dalton will take her talents — skills that helped Dalton to a top-six finish in the Class 4A state cheerleading competition and a second-place finish at state sectionals this past season — to a higher level.

And Young Harris’ gain is the University of West Georgia’s loss.

“I had went and cheered at a tryout at West Georgia, and that was my No. 1 choice,” Chastine said. “But I wasn’t as interested after I visited Young Harris.”

In her role with the Lady Catamounts, Chastine was used primarily as a base in formations and during competitions. However, she is anxious to return to a flyer role in college. She is also looking forward to working on a full-time basis with her first coed squad.

“We’ve already done a few things, and it has gone a lot better than I thought it would,” Chastine said of working with males. “They can definitely throw me up there a long ways. There are some crazy skills they have us practicing.”

With the higher basket tosses and toss-to-hand maneuvers that college cheerleaders execute, Chastine also knows there is a greater risk of injury. But it is something she has become used to experiencing.

“There have been times when I have fallen on my face, and numerous times were I have flat-out busted it,” she said. “Knock on wood, I haven’t broken any bones.”

Dalton cheerleading coach Tami Fleming is sure Chastine will continue to excel.

“I expect a lot out of her future,” Fleming said. “She is incredibly talented and a well-rounded and grounded teenager. When she gets to college, I expect her to blossom and grow. She was one of the stronger team leaders. Lexi found her place among nine seniors and was really good for our younger cheerleaders.”

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Dalton High School Catamounts
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