Drill team lieutenant, Pom Squad


Photo by Emily Ojeda

Senior lieutenant Kaytie Cooke standing front-center at the pep rally on Sept. 13, 2019.

by Isis Martin, Reporter

Golden Girl and Senior Lieutenant Kaytie Cooke may look like an average dancer at pep rallies and football games, but beyond the field Cooke is preparing for a spot on Texas Tech University’s Pom Squad.

“It was really intimidating being next to the Pom Squad,” Cooke said. 

In early September, Cooke traveled six hours to Lubbock, Texas. She attended Tech’s Pom Squad clinic training session, which is offered to those hoping to become new members. While training at Tech, Cooke and 15 other girls practiced various dance routines, spanning from contemporary to jazz music. 

“I have seen a lot of growth with her, in her dance genre abilities.” Golden Girls Coach Webster said. 

Very similar to the Golden Girls, the Pom Squad at Tech is selective and competitive. The National Champions Division (NDA) 1A Pom 2018-19 team only gives spots to approximately 10 girls each year, for a total of about 40 to 50 girls. In addition to the squad’s selectiveness, it makes over 150 appearances a year to sports conferences and community events, and they also perform at every football game. 

“I couldn’t cut back, I danced six days a weekthree to four hours a night,” Cooke said. 

Cooke, who has been dancing since the age of 4, is a member of the Golden Girls and dances with The Dance Company of Wylie. Cooke is no stranger to the competitive world of dance and by taking her talents to the college level, Cooke will have to make sacrifices.

“I would have to cancel being with my friends and not going to football games,” Cooke said. 

Pursuing dance as a student wasn’t always easy for Cooke. During her freshman and sophomore years, she gave up personal time with her friends and family to perfect her craft as a dancer. Cooke’s sacrifices early on with dance forced her to often put her education and schoolwork second. This sacrifice prompted Cooke to become more involved in dance within school.

“I thought I was going to be a dancer my whole life,” Cooke said. The Dance Consortium wrote an article, which shares that both dancers and athletes are threatened by injuries throughout their careers. Because injuries are so common for dancers, having a college degree is recommended. For Cooke, balancing her education and dance is something that she struggles with but having a leadership position on drill team has motivated her to stay focused with her school work. 

“If you are a role model, you can be a leader to the team,” Cooke said.

Kaytie’s journey with Pom Squad is still continuing. Official Tech Pom Squad auditions begin May 4, 2020. She continues to show aspiring dancers and her peers that no matter what colors, school or routine, she is performing and that she is a dancer of her own.