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How UNC fan Juliet McCreary became a Kentucky cheerleader and why she enjoys it so much

photos by Victoria Graff, Jeff David Jacoby and Michael Huang


Juliet McCreary of Huntersville, N.C. is a 19-year-old sophomore cheerleader at the University of Kentucky majoring in Integrated Strategic Communications, which is a mix between journalism, advertising and business. This is her second year on the UK blue squad and she has been cheering since she was 5 years old. She explains how a North Carolina fan ended up being a cheerleader at Kentucky and loving her minute of it.

Question: How did a North Carolina girl end up as a cheerleader at Kentucky?
McCreary: “My mom and I sat down one day after school and sent out my highlight video to every cheer coach in the SEC and other schools known for cheerleading. We wanted to go anywhere that would offer the best scholarship and the best program. When we came up for a visit, I fell in love with the campus and the team. Jomo Thompson (our coach) was the first coach to respond to our email and really made me feel wanted as part of the cheerleading program.

Question: Did you grow up a North Carolina/Duke fan and what do folks at home think about you being a UK cheerleader?
McCreary: “We moved to North Carolina when I was about sixth grade so I haven’t always been a fan but grew into a UNC fan because it was the ideal school to go to and support (also the closer of the two schools to where we lived). Everyone is actually really supportive and knows me as the ‘cheerleader’ back home, so they all think it is such a blessing to be able to make my dream a reality and continue cheering in college even so far away from home.”

Question: What’s the best part of being a cheerleader at Kentucky?
McCreary: “There are so many great things about being a Kentucky cheerleader. I would say the best part of it is being an ambassador for the university and wearing the UK on our chest. It is such an honor to be part of a program with a big history.”

Question: Do you ever feel pressure trying to win national title after national title since UK has 19 total titles and has won four of the last five?
McCreary: “Surprisingly no. We are good at preparing and practicing until there are no doubts. We have a ‘Kentucky way’ of doing skills with repetition and knowledge of knowing how to perform the skills. I don’t want to make us sound overconfident, but we value being well prepared and a winning attitude.”

Question: What’s one thing about UK cheerleading that you wish more people knew?
McCreary: “I wish more people knew how hard our schedules can get along the time of basketball games, football games, occasional volleyball games, and nationals practices. We practice three times a week for 2 1/2 hours each with games and school. I know people understand that we win national tittles, but that comes with hard work and the ability to prioritize everything throughout each day. I am always inviting people to our big showcases before a performance so they can see what we do beyond the sidelines at games.”

Question: What do you think of Kentucky fans?
McCreary: “I think Kentucky fans are crazy! They literally bleed blue. I think they are die-hard fans and once a Kentucky fan you’re always a Kentucky fan!”

Question: What plans do you have for life after cheerleading?
McCreary: “Well I really love sports in general and I love watching any college/pro sports team. I’m interested in working PR (public relations) with any major company or team to keep involved. My dream job would to be with Nike. I love that they are such an innovative company and there is always something new to put out there for any sports team.”


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  1. Dr.Mark Stephens

    Thank’s Larry for a article on the Cheerleader’s, and a big welcome and Howdy to Juliet.My daughter Michelle cheered as a undergrad before coming to UK to be part of the MDphd program. She worked harder in training and practice than any other of her sport activies. Most folks don’t realize the hard work and training these girls do.The guys also but most don’t get involved until they are in college. The UK cheerleaders are the elite team in college and are a JOY to watch.GO CATS

    1. larryvaught

      Mark they are the elite of the elite. going to have more with Juliet during the season as well and hopefully more with Dylan Smith too

  2. LindaS

    Cheerleaders get very little respect. They are always thought of as the little kids who could not make a team or didn’t want to commit. Cheerleading is like any other sport, it takes time, dedication and talent. Not everyone can do those flips up in the air. All athletes are strong and talented. Let anyone of these people go up against a cheerleader, gymnast or dancer and see who has stamina and strength.

    I hope Julie bleeds blue now and will be a fan for life.
    Livin’ Blue & Lovin’ It!

  3. Larry Pup

    I love female cheerleaders. Always have.

    1. larryvaught

      Larry Pup, any wise man loves cheerleaders. What’s not to love? And Linda, you are right. It’s amazing how talented these male and female cheerleaders are

    2. UKFMLY


  4. Juan4UK

    I have to say, it’s kinda sad that the UK Cheerleaders fall to almost “afterthought” status, or we may even take their Status in their sport (and that is what it is), for granted.
    While regrettable, the cheer leading squads, should congratulate themselves, they have done that for us by giving us an absurd amount of titles and overall domination for over a decade straight. They be the most dominating athletes ever over a 20-25 yr period of time.
    I have read about them here and there, and I saw an article about them and just their hectic schedules alone are crazy just to keep up with. They have, class, study, charity work, community work, team practice, conditioning, walk-thru’s and games and competitions to manage on a weekly basis. And some, I think, are mentors as well.
    Apparently they mostly have A average’s or close to it. Apparently, these kids do not stop, since before they even set foot on campus.
    I think, that people really need to give the cheerleaders their due, and the recognition their sport deserves. Figure out a way around the subjective scoring systems and give them the sport designation so that they get the respect they deserve.

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