KHS senior is four-time cheerleading All-American


It's an honor bestowed on the cream of the crop in athletics.

And repeating it is no easy feat.

But Kingman High School senior Kari Farrell has not only been cited once or twice, but is a four-time National Cheer Association All-American.

"It's an honor to be called a NCA All-American," Farrell said.

Her final honor came in August at the NCA camp at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

Participants are nominated to tryout for All-American and must perform in front of hundreds of campers.

"It's harder to remake it," Farrell said.

"They have an official camp cheer that changes every year that you have to perform.

You have to do three advanced stamina jumps right after another and you have to tumble."

Farrell tried out five of the six times she went to the camp.

She first went to camp as a seventh-grader and a member of the Kingman Junior High School squad.

"That's when anyone could try out," Farrell said.

"This girl told me you had to do a standing back handspring, so I didn't tryout.

"The next year my goal was to be All-American so I worked all summer on my jumps before going to camp.

I tried out and made it."

In earning All-American honors as an eighth grader, Farrell became the Kingman's youngest recipient.

She made it the following year, but as a sophomore felt the pressure to repeat.

"I felt really pressured my 10th grade year to make it," Farrell said.

"I was going to go to nationals ( in softball).

From cheer camp I had to go to Phoenix to fly to Colorado to pitch in a softball tournament.

I was really looking forward to that.

"Everyone expected me to make (All-American) and kept telling me I would.

I didn't.

But I didn't let that bother me.

I wanted to definitely make it my junior and senior years."

One of the rewards for being an NCA All-American is the opportunity to perform during halftime of one of the college football bowl games.

Cheerleaders have their choice of a bowl game.

They are given the uniform to wear, but must pay their own way.

As a freshman, Farrell performed at the Aloha Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the following year went to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

She didn't go last year because the Bulldogs' varsity squad had received a invitation to the national competition and planned to go.

In the end, the Bulldogs didn't raise enough funds to go.

The Bulldogs again received a bid to compete at nationals, but chose not to go, leaving Farrell with an easy decision.

She'll close her illustrious high school career with a return trip to the Aloha Bowl in December.

Senior Crystal Sibson, a member of the KHS pom squad, also plans to make the trip.

The two will receive a videotape of the routine before making the trip.

"It was the best time to go because I didn't want to miss a whole bunch of school and it's over break," Farrell said.

"All the choreography is so awesome.

You do five or six dances with one halftime routine.

"You're constantly practicing for hours at a time every day you're there but two days.

You practice four or five days before, then they have a luau and you go with all the college football players."

Farrell had always been involved with athletics, participating in long jump in local and state track meets as a youngster.

When she was in fifth grade and her older brother, Donald, played for the Kingman Youth Football League, she wanted to be a cheerleader.

But cheerleading isn't the only sport she excels at.

That same year she went out for softball and quickly made a name for herself on the pitching mound.

"When they picked the teams the coach had everyone to pitch underhand and see who was accurate and I was," Farrell said.

She worked her way into the starting pitcher for the Bulldogs' varsity softball team.

"During softball season I have more upper strength," she said.

" I think I have a lot more stamina during cheer then my calves get a lot stronger."

Farrell plans to continue cheer after she graduates.

She'd like to become a NCA camp staff member and pass on her expertise.