After a successful career on the gridiron and on the hardwood, Owensboro senior Khalil Rogers has taken the next step in his academic and athletic career by joining one of the most prestigious cheerleading teams in the country at the University of Kentucky.
Rogers said it feels great to have the process of deciding on a school behind, saying that it’s a huge weight off of his shoulders. But Khalil had to earn his opportunity, having texted one of the UK Cheer coaches about stunt clinics—ultimately leading to invitation to an open gym and then tryouts.
“Tryouts felt like they were the longest few days of my life,” Rogers said. “It was challenging and hard while also being fun and a great experience. Nothing will be easy though you have to rise to their standards.”
The University of Kentucky cheerleading has won 24 National Championships, so not just anyone can make the squad. Having just recently started his cheerleading career, Rogers is just happy to have the opportunity to cheer for the Wildcats.
“It means a lot to me knowing that I made it on one of the best cheer programs in the country,” Rogers said. “Considering I haven’t been cheering for a year yet it just means a lot to be in this position that I know people would die for.”
Rogers said that the people he has met are awesome and there is a family type environment that he’s excited to join.
“What stood out to me was how much the coaches and trainers care about the athletes,” Rogers said. “They will always look out for you and get on to you about the little things because it will matter when you get on the big stage.”
Not to mention that they have his preferred field of study in animal science, which is a program that he said he has been dying to get into. And while Khalil is excited to take the next step, he is going to miss the hard work he put in with the football team and cheer team.
“Some of my favorite high school memories would be getting to play in a football state championship game and also joining cheer and getting to be a part of that journey…” Rogers said. “What I am going to miss most about high school cheer is going to practice and getting to do the thing I fell in love with. What I will miss most about high school is just going to school and getting to see all my friends everyday.”
Rogers went on to thank his support group, saying that he couldn’t have done it without him and is excited to continue to be challenged as his cheer career progresses.
“I’d like to thank my family for being my biggest support system, my coaches Coach Cavitt, Skyler, Alyssa, Carson, Kenzie, and Coach Price, for pushing me to be the best cheerleader I can be,” Rogers said. “And my teammates for supporting me through my first year of cheer.”