Former HV cheerleader takes her talents to UT

By Travis Brown
STAR Staff

   The hopes and dreams of many youngsters would peak with the news that the University of Tennessee has just issued them a full scholarship, but to one local Cheerleader that is just the beginning.
   Melea Shatley, a local cheerleading standout from Happy Valley, received a full ride from the Volunteers for her outstanding abilities on the sideline.
   The reward is certainly well-deserved as Melea has worked towards this goal since her junior year of cheering for the Warriors, and the effort has paid off.
   "I'm just so humbled to be on the team," said Shatley "I thank God for the ability that he gave me, and the hard work has finally paid off."
   The four time UCA All-American has twice received top honors at her respective camps, and also collected two state titles in tumbling. Amongst other accolades this accomplishment will stand at the top of an already impressive resume.
   Despite reaching her goals, Melea still feels as if there are goals left to be accomplished. She is still hoping to take it to the top of the collegiate world at this year's upcoming Nationals.
   "As a team we have so many goals this year," said Shatley. "The talent is there we just have to pull together and work as a team. I think we will do well at the nationals."
   Over the past two years, Shatley has been working to improve her skills in order to make the UT squad. With her vast experience in tumbling, gymnastics and dance, her preparation involved a great deal of work in the stunt department.
   Due to the fact Happy Valley lacked a male cheerleader to do coordinated stunts, Melea spent most of her time preparing for that aspect of her tryouts.
   "I felt confident with cheering and tumbling coming into the tryouts, but I needed to work on my partner stunts," she said.
   She attended two camps at the UT campus designed to both teach and scout talent from the prep ranks. Melea caught some looks during her days the camps, and put it all together come tryout time.
   Now with the tryouts and the hard work in the past, Melea is ready to rededicate herself to the new goals of her team.
   Modesty is the best policy, and during a conversation it is easy to see that she is her own worst critic.
   "I am my own worst enemy," said Shatley. "I am so critical of what I do, but it has driven me to get better."
   With renewed focus on what lies ahead, the venue of Neyland Stadium is now the big test for the upcoming freshman.
   "I have to get mentally tough," she said. "I think I'm ready for it, but I'm sure it will be a little overwhelming."
   With the Vols football season now underway, the nerves are no doubt on edge for the super freshman.
   The fact that Melea mad the competition squad during her first year at the university, is also a large accomplishment.
   So be sure to rememer during this upcoming season, that the football players are not the only athletes on the field. A dose of local flavor will not only be playing on the field, but a touch of home will be on the sidelines as well.
   Good luck Melea and Go Vols!