Jenna Hanlon’s cheerleading career could end when she begins college next fall.
If that’s the case, it’s been quite a journey for the Clinton-Massie senior.
Hanlon is in London, England as part of the Universal Cheerleaders Association to perform in London’s New Year’s Day Parade. Hanlon is one of four Clinton-Massie cheerleaders to qualify for this trip but the only one to actually make the trip overseas. The other cheerleaders who qualified but will not attend are Emma Collins, Kyla Hessler and Kealey James.
Hanlon and her teammates had to try out for the opportunity during UCA summer camp in June and finish in the top 12 percent.
“I am so excited for her to have this opportunity and she is an excellent representative of the CMHS cheer squad,” said Sheri Stulz, the Clinton-Massie cheer coach.
Hanlon began cheering in third grade for Clinton-Massie Pee-Wee football. She now cheers for football, basketball and as a member of the competition team.
“I have really grown to love cheer,” she said.
Off the athletic field, Hanlon grew up in 4-H and “riding horses was one of my passions.” She is still involved in 4-H and showing horses. She also started throwing discus for the Clinton-Massie girls track and field team as a freshman “as an attempt to try something new.”
Hanlon left on Christmas Day for London. In England, in addition to performing in the New Year’s Day Parade, Hanlon and the UCA organization members will get to see plenty of attractions along the way. They’ll also have the chance to see the play “Wicked” and attend the UCA New Year’s Eve Party.
For some, traveling is an uneasy experience. Not for Hanlon. She’s been to 27 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, eight countries and three continents. “I love to travel,” she said.
She’s never been to London, though.
“I am most excited to see the Tower of London, Big Ben and all of the castles — Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle — because I have so many pictures of them but I have never been able to actually see them.”
Hanlon would “love to be a college cheerleader” but also wants to attend the University of Kentucky and would “not be able to continue to cheerleader career there,” she said. Whether UK or another institution, Hanlon plans to major in accounting with a minor in international business.
“I will miss my cheer family,” she said. “Cheer season starts mid April and ends the following March. You really get to become close with all of your teammates because you are spending four to six days with them for most of the weeks of the year.”