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.
'Twice as Nice'
When it comes to the 3A State Tournament and Oklahoma City, the Verdigris High School basketball teams are a household name.
Head coaches Randy Upshaw and Mike Buntin lead their programs back to the 'Capitol City' this week for a chance to hoist the coveted 3A state championship on Saturday night at the Big House.
Cards fly into 3A State Tournament
Verdigris junior guard Cade Upshaw lives for March Madness.
The 5-foot-10 sharp-shooter overcame a sluggish performance in a loss to Tahlequah Sequoyah to bounce back for a 20-point outing in the Cardinals’ 72-42 win over Antlers Saturday evening in the Class 3A Area Tournament at Checotah Event Center.
CLASS 4A AREA TOURNEY: Vinita eliminates Inola
Vinita used an 18-point third quarter — highlighted by the sophomore leadership of Carsyn Spurgeon — and converted 21-of-34 free throws to notch a 61-55 win over the Inola Lady Longhorns Saturday night in the Class 4A Area Tournament.
‘Soaring to State’
In the hometown of Carrie Underwood, Verdigris senior point guard Baileigh O’Dell proved to be Oklahoma’s ‘Basketball Idol’ in Class 3A Girls Basketball.
The 5-foot-8 floor general put the No. 4-ranked Lady Cardinals on her shoulders and carried Verdigris back to the the state tournament with the 53-40 win over No. 5 Tahlequah Sequoyah Friday night in the Area Championship at the Checotah Event Center.
CLASS 4A AREA TOURNEY: Stilwell advances to State
A jam-packed, vocal crowd — aided by the control of several Claremore Police officers — witnessed Stilwell’s come-from-behind 57-51 win over Harrah Saturday night in the must-win game of the Class 4A Area Tournament at the Claremore High School Gymnasium.
MLB: Furcal mounting comeback with Miami Marlins
Coming off surgery to his throwing elbow, Rafael Furcal showed the Miami Marlins he can still deliver a sales pitch.
After sitting out the 2013 season, the 36-year-old infielder met last fall with Marlins executives Mike Hill and Dan Jennings and convinced them he could be their second baseman this year.
NFL: Redskins, Cowboys released from salary cap jail
When the Washington Redskins were placed in salary cap jail by the NFL, Kedric Golston had to say goodbye to his best friend on the team.
For the past two years, the Redskins and Dallas Cowboys - otherwise rivals to the bitter end in the NFC East - have been constrained by a much-disputed ruling limiting how much money they could spend on players.
NFL: Jets release WR Santonio Holmes after 4 seasons
Tone Time is over for the New York Jets.
The Jets parted ways with wide receiver Santonio Holmes on Monday, cutting the talented but injury-plagued playmaker after four seasons.
The move, which had been expected, saves the Jets $8.25 million, which Holmes was due to make as his base salary this season. He was also scheduled to have a $10.75 million cap number, a lofty total for a one-time Super Bowl MVP who has struggled with injuries and inconsistency the last two seasons.
NFL: Seattle re-signs DE Michael Bennett
Free agent defensive end Michael Bennett is returning to Seattle after agreeing to a multi-year deal with the Super Bowl champion Seahawks.
Terms of the contract were not immediately available on Monday. Bennett was considered one of the top free agents in the NFL after a breakout season with the Seahawks where he led the team in sacks and proved a versatile option as a defensive end and defensive tackle.
High School Basketball State Tournament Brackets
The Oklahoma High School Basketball State Tournaments will get under way this week in Oklahoma City and the Tulsa-Metro Area.
Below is a listing of the Class 3A-6A State Tournament Pairings.
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