A dream is often a wish that the heart makes.
Ever since Cailin Caldwell can remeber, her dream in the small town of Claremore has been to attend a NCAA Division I school.
Whether it was through a cheerleading or soccer scholarship, the 2013 Claremore High School graduate was willing to do whatever it took to pursue her dream.
Caldwell, who closed out her illustrious high school career as a dual All-State performer in soccer and cheerleading, will represent Claremore as a freshman member of the Oklahoma Sooners cheerleading team.
“It’s a dream come true,” Caldwell said with a smile.
Through hard work, staying patient and trusting God’s timing, Caldwell’s journey from the seats inside the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium to the sidelines will take centerstage in 31 days — Aug. 31 when OU plays Louisiana-Monroe.
“It’s hard to believe that in 31 days I’ll be cheering in front of 80,000 people,” Caldwell said.
Asked if she would be nervous on the experience of a lifetime, Caldwell graciously responded with a heart-warming smile and said, “it’s an honor just to be a part of something so special.”
Caldwell’s love for the Sooners is only proof that she’s her ‘Daddy’s Girl’.
Her father, Brian Caldwell, only knows two colors during college football season ... ‘Crimson and Cream’.
And, for many years, those are the only colors that Caldwell has embraced in her wardrobe.
Though her friends — who happen to be partial to Oklahoma State — often kid her and even persuade her to don the black and orange, Caldwell held her ground and wore ‘crimson’ with pride.
“I’m Sooner born and Sooner bred,” Caldwell said.
“Wouldn’t have it any other way.”
One of 27 members — 18 of which are brand new — to the All-Girl OU Cheer Squad, Caldwell will at least know a familiar face in co-captain Taylor DeLozier, a former Claremore Sequoyah All-State cheerleader.
Caldwell said her OU teammates have grown so close in just a short period of time.
“I feel like I’ve known them forever,” Caldwell added.
“It will be really neat to share this experience with Taylor, and have someone close to home on the squad.”
Caldwell’s path to becoming an OU cheerleader took five auditions before the actual tryout.
Through it all, though, Caldwell kept persevering toward the ultimate prize while leaning on the moral support of her parents.
“My parents are my biggest supporters,” Caldwell said.
“They never missed a cheerleading event or a soccer game and they’re always there to encourage me.”
* * *
Cheering since she was 6-years-old, Caldwell envisioned herself one day relishing this ‘golden opportunity’.
Caldwell grew up in Claremore, played with Barbie dolls, went to high school football games and looked up to the Zebra cheerleaders.
She had her mind set at an early age that cheerleading or soccer would be her ticket to college.
Though she loves scoring goals and being aggressive on the soccer field, her athleticism and outgoing personality enabled her to reach higher with her dreams.
Caldwell developed a love for spirited cheers such as ‘Two bits, Four Bits, Six Bits a dollar, all for the Zebras stand up and holler...” and “Who are you rooting for ... C-H-S!”
The coaching she received at Claremore High School in cheer from Ashley Long, Debbie Griggs and Kelli Steidley helped make this moment in Caldwell’s life more than a ‘pipe-dream’.
And, then to win a State Championship as a senior last October, as well as earning All-State recognition, Caldwell’s capped off her Zebra career in style.
“Every moment of my senior year — from winning state to being crowded Homecoming Queen and then helping lead the soccer team to the Final Four — are ‘priceless’ memories that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life,” Caldwell said.
* * *
And, while she gets a little ‘teary-eyed’ reflecting back on her stroll down memory lane, Caldwell beams with excitement knowing that her ‘best days’ are still ahead of her in Norman.
A new chapter awaits the daughter of Brian and Tatum Caldwell ... one that hopefully includes the opportunity of cheering on the Sooners in the 2014 BCS Championship Game.
All eyes in Norman every Saturday will be on the sidelines watching Claremore’s Caldwell, who reflects the drive, determination and desire to go the distance in order to make dreams come true.
“I always want to set a good, positive example and be that person (cheerleader) that every girl looks up too,” Caldwell said.
Sooner born and sooner proud, Caldwell followed her heart and received more than she could ever wish for in this ‘small-town’ dream.
Claremore's Caldwell follows dream to OU Cheer Squad
A dream is often a wish that the heart makes.
3A AREA PLAYOFFS: Verdigris battles Tahlequah Sequoyah in Checotah
Verdigris senior guard Caitlyn Hanslovan drained two key 3-pointers during Saturday’s Class 3A Regional Finals that provided a spark and a huge win over Vian.
Hanslovan, who is accustomed to winning state championships in soccer, will look to move the No. 3-ranked Lady Cardinals one step closer toward a berth in the 3A State Tournament at 6:30 p.m. on Friday in the area finals against Tahlequah Sequoyah at Checotah High School.
Catoosa HS set to host Class 6A Girls Area; 5A Boys Area tourneys
For high school basketball enthusiasts in Rogers County, Catoosa High School is the place to be on Thursday and Friday.
Catoosa High School will host the Class 6A Girls Area and Class 5A Boys Area over the two-day period.
Class 3A Regional Champions
It’s takes two to tango and the Verdigris basketball teams are dancing their way to the Class 3A Area Finals.
With a state tournament berth on the line Friday night, both Verdigris teams return to a familiar place on the road to state in Oklahoma City.
The Class 3A No. 3-ranked Lady Cardinals waltzed past Vian, 58-46 and the No. 4-ranked Cardinals decked Eufaula, 66-53 to cap off the regional championship night Saturday inside the Jack Collins Fieldhouse.
Claremore set to host 4A Area Basketball Tournament
Claremore High School will be a busy place Thursday through Saturday with several of the state’s top Class 4A basketball teams competing in the area tournament.
Forte key to OSU's postseason success
Phil Forte stands 5-foot-11, according to information provided by Oklahoma State, making him the smallest member of the Pokes' roster — and among the shortest in Big 12 Conference.
Waiting for best dunk
Markel Brown had to know Monday’s game against Kansas State would be special after knocking down a half-court shot for his only warm-up right before the National Anthem.
The moment came just minutes after the senior guard was recognized before the game in Gallagher-Iba Arena, which marked his last in an illustrious four-year career on the Stillwater campus.
MIAA MEN'S BB TOURNEY: NSU knocks off Washburn 79-75
The Northeastern State men’s basketball team ended the season for Washburn with a 79-75 victory Tuesday night in Lee Arena in the opening round of the 2014 MIAA Championship.
Adair rolls past Chelsea to win 3A Girls Basketball Regional Title
Keni Lippe scored 16 points, a quartet of teammates each had nine and the top-ranked Adair girls blazed past Chelsea, 70-23, to claim a 3A regional tournament title.
WRESTLING: Pryor pair makes state podium
It wasn’t exactly what Pryor head wrestling coach Roger White wanted, but two podium placements at the Class 5A state wrestling tournament this weekend in Oklahoma City is no small feat.
SOFTBALL: Arkansas-OU game rescheduled for April 30 in Fayetteville
Due to inclement weather and conditions, Wednesday's game between the University of Arkansas softball team and No. 13/19 Oklahoma has been rescheduled for April 30 at 3 p.m. (CT) at Bogle Park.
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