Cassie Rogers - the first Moffat County High School cheerleader to earn a college scholarship in the sport - is the lone freshman cheerleader at Hope International University in California.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Cassie Rogers - the first Moffat County High School cheerleader to earn a college scholarship in the sport - is the lone freshman cheerleader at Hope International University in California.

Cassie Rogers won't take no for an answer

As a young fifth-grader, Cassie Rogers had a dream.

It wasn't a typical dream - there were no visions of being swept off her feet by a night in shining armor, or of purchasing a million-dollar lottery ticket.

As a little girl, her goal of becoming a college cheerleader was laughed at, ridiculed and made fun of by most.

She's the one laughing now.

Rogers - a 2008 Moffat County High School graduate - defied the naysayers March 13, 2008, when she inked her name on a scholarship offer from Hope International University in Southern California, and became the first ever MCHS cheerleader to earn a ride to college in her sport.

"It used to be far-fetched for me to even be a cheerleader in college," Rogers said. "But, I worked really hard at it - especially when no one believed I could - and I made it happen.

"I never gave up, and look at me now."

Don't tell Rogers that cheerleading isn't a sport.

"I wasn't going to give up on it because they said it couldn't happen," Rogers said of the naysayers. "It's a lot of fun, because a lot of people don't consider cheerleading a sport. I'm considered an athlete at my school, and I'm given money just like the other athletes. That's one of the biggest things I always think about.

"I'm a college athlete."

Being a college athlete has been an entirely different world compared to her previous life in high school.

A co-ed team of men and women has replaced an all-girls MCHS team.

Her stunts have been doubled - and sometimes tripled - in skill level, and when she falls to the mat, there isn't a motherly high school coach there to see if she's all right.

When she falls now, she has to run laps.

"I have a lot of bumps and bruises," Rogers said, laughing. "Sometimes I feel like a giant pinball, banging in to stuff on the way down."

And as the lone freshman on the Royals spirit squad, Rogers had a lot of catching up to do.

"I came in as the only new person, so it was kind of nerve-racking at first," Rogers said. "I had to get up to speed. But, everybody on the team really helped me, and now I'm really comfortable."

But, she said her past experience cheering - from the Moffat County All-stars and Wildcats to Craig Middle School and MCHS - gave her the tools to succeed today.

"I learned a lot here in Craig," Rogers said. "If I hadn't been a part of those teams, I wouldn't have had a clue as to what I needed to do when I got to Hope."

Her first performance came at a school pep rally in November.

A performance she said came without a hitch.

"It was really exciting," she said. "The entire student body was there, and we got to do stunts, flips and tosses. We got to show everyone what we are all about."

As far as her future goes, she's not done showing people what she can do.

Outside of the gym, the psychology major recorded a 4.0 grade point average her first semester.

In the gym, she's working hard to take her skill to the next level.

Rogers wants to finish her career as a University of Texas Longhorn.

"I've always wanted to go to UT," she said. "It's my dream school."

Every time Rogers has set her mind on something, she's done it.

When someone has told her she couldn't do something, she's proved him or her wrong.

"Anything is a possible if you set your mind to it, want it bad enough and really go after it," Rogers said. "I'm just getting started."

John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com

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