DAVIS — Growing up in a community like Davis, one quickly learns the meaning of the word family from a young age.

Editors Note: This is part of a series profiling the finalists for the 2019 Cheerleader of the Year award, which will be announced at the Best of the Arbuckles Preps banquet in May. 

DAVIS — Growing up in a community like Davis, one quickly learns the meaning of the word family from a young age.

For Lady Wolves senior cheerleader Sydni Merrell, being raised in a community like Davis hasn’t just given her a blueprint for closeness and togetherness, it’s also influenced what she wants to do in her future when she attends college at the University of Oklahoma this fall. 

“I’m going to study nursing and my plan is to be a forensic nurse,” Merrell said. “You’d deal with more domestic issues in that field of work. I want to be able to help people in those situations, and give them an avenue to where they know someone is there to help them.”

“This community is such a tight group,” Merrell added. “Having coaches who have been in our shoes before is almost like having another member of your family. They know how to help us through situations and what we need to do to succeed. I want to be able to carry that mindset on in college and when I begin my career.”

Merrell is one of two Davis cheerleaders who this season made history by becoming a two-time member of the All-Ardmoreite cheer team, along with Kyla Birkes.

Sydni currently owns an overall GPA of 4.0, and is a member of the Oklahoma and National Honor Society. She is also a member of BPA, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Student Council. 

In addition, Sydni is also a member of the Lady Wolves fast and slow pitch softball teams, and is a member of the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Sulphur, as well as being an active member of the youth confirmation class.

“If I’m being honest, I don’t know how I’ve balanced everything I’ve been involved with during high school,” Merrell said. “Somehow though it has all worked out for me. There were days I’d go to softball in the morning and end up at cheer at night. Other days I’d have to do both on top of school work which made for some late nights. My biggest thing was working hard and never giving up and just pushing through.”

Having already made history this past year, Merrell now has her sights set on obtaining another prize, as she said it would be an honor to be the first ever Cheerleader of the Year.

“We have a bunch of sports here, obviously Davis is a big football town,” Merrell said. “It would be really cool to win though and bring something to the cheer program. We’re not just a side thing, we’re a sport that works hard and is successful. I feel like winning the award would send a very clear message, and mean a lot to myself and this program here at Davis High School.”