When Kaitlyn Solley was in college, she had a dream of one day returning to Carter County to help coach a cheer team in the place she called home.

When Kaitlyn Solley was in college, she had a dream of one day returning to Carter County to help coach a cheer team in the place she called home. 

Not only has her dream become a reality this year at Lone Grove High School, but she’s gotten to live it with one of the most special people in her life, her mother Susie Solley.

Together this dynamic mother-daughter duo is helping lead the Lady Horns cheer squad into the future as they try and help the program achieve new heights of success. 

“Coaching alongside my mom has been a lot of fun this first year,” Kaitlyn said. “While she is my mom first, she’s also one of my best friends. There’s never been a communication barrier when it comes to something that’s necessary for the team to move forward.”

“We’re both able to freely voice our opinions and it doesn’t hold us back,” Kaitlyn added. “I think we work very well together as coaches and as a team.” 

Kaitlyn’s cheer journey began at Plainview, where she began cheering in the fifth grade. 

During her time in middle school she branched out to join the Cheer Connection Outlaws as well as All-Star Cheer. 

After a brief stint doing other avenues of cheer though, Kaitlyn decided her heart and passion lied with doing strictly school cheer. 

With the help of her tumbling coach Hope Ritter, as well as participating as a member of the Lady Indians track team, Kaitlyn was more than prepared physically and mentally for her next step into the world of cheer, which came at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.

Despite going through grueling workouts with coach Austin Robles, Kaitlyn used them as motivation to move forward and get better in every aspect of cheer possible.

The results spoke for themselves as Solley ended her collegiate career with a pair of NCA National Championships as a member of the Lady Bronchos cheer team, where she got to perform in Daytona Beach, Florida.

In her short time as part of the Lone Grove cheer coach, Kaitlyn has already gotten to enjoy plenty of success, including seeing senior member Samantha Parsons sign to cheer in college at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee. 

“It’s been a roller coaster of emotions for sure during my cheer journey,” Kaitlyn said. “I’ve had tears in my eyes each time I’ve reached a milestone in this sport, whether it was finishing high school or college cheer or winning national titles in college. I thought being on the coaching side of things would take away some of the emotion I felt with the sport, but the joke ended up being on me!”

“Before I could be a little selfish and focus on how I could better myself for the team,” Kaitlyn said. “Now I look at each athlete on the team and enjoy their successes and learn new skills right along with them. It does hurt a little because we are losing seven amazing girls on this season’s squad, but we’re going to continue to support them in whatever they do going forward.”

Having been able to cheer on big stages in high school and college cheer, Kaitlyn said she is enjoying passing on those experiences to her squad, as well as learning new things about the sport at the same time.

“This is a huge reward getting to be apart of these girls cheer journeys,” she said. “When I share stories about my experiences, it brings us closer together, because they can see how I can relate to them whether its good or bad. Plus, my experiences can be utilized to help them avoid injuries, which I’ve suffered more than my fair share of.”

“Our athletes at Lone Grove have shown me that there’s not just one singular thing that makes a cheerleader,” Kaitlyn added. “Each and every one of them embody an aspect of cheerleading that is undeniable and shines when they are cheering for football on a Friday night or any given basketball game. A lot of these girls have the desire to compete, and I hope we can move forward with that and give them a stage so they can shine and create their own spotlight.” 

With her new journey just beginning at Lone Grove, Kaitlyn said she hopes that more people like her who have cheered in high school or college will embrace the chance to get to be a coach as its an experience she is very grateful to have.

“If someone in cheer has the chance to coach, I’d absolutely tell them to go for it,” she said. “It’s a different side of cheerleading you don’t get to see or appreciate when you are an athlete. But at the same time, don’t just assume everyone has the same style of coaching you do.”

“I’ve learned through coaching that I’m very adaptable to the changes around me,” Kaitlyn said. “I realize that’s not the case for everyone though. We still train hard to keep up the atmosphere and energy needed for a football game, but it doesn’t require the same intensity and timed workouts required for a 2 1/2 minute routine. I’m just very blessed and thankful for this journey I’m on.”