Scholar Athlete: Grace Cotton

It’s a skill she’s had since the eighth grade… a double back handspring full.  For Grace Cotton, she’s one of just a few on the Troup County cheer team who can perform it, and one that’s taken a lot of hard work and practice.

"You’re not guaranteed anything, ever," Cotton said. "So you have to work for what you really want in anything you do."

Grace is just a sophomore, and has already made an impact on the young Tiger team.  She has a talent that shows on the mat, but believe it or not, cheerleading wasn’t really her first choice.

"When I was little actually, one of my friends on the cheer team- I came here to sign up for soccer and she was like do cheerleading with me," Cotton said. "So ever since I was four, I’ve been cheering."

Fast forward more than ten years where she’s now a silent leader on the Tiger squad.  A dancer, tumbler, and base who’s led by example and has impressed her coach from day one.

"She just stands out in the fact that she wants to be the best tumbler, be the best stunter, and be the best dancer, and never stops," Amelia Key said.

Grace is excelling on the mat and excelling in the classroom.  She has a 4.0 GPA, is involved in the FCA leadership and Troup County leadership teams, and is taking her first AP classes of her high school career.  How’s it going?

"We actually just had our first test and I did pretty well I thought," she said. "But it’s definitely not easy, I’ve learned."

Because between studying, practicing two hours a day for cheer, going to both home and away football games, and heading out to competitions on the weekend, she finds herself with not a whole lot of time to do anything else… But does she regret it? Not one bit.

"It’s very stressful," she said. "I stay up lots of nights, but in the end, I’m very thankful for everything and everybody who helps me."

The sky’s the limit for this Troup County cheerleader who plans on attending college to hopefully study engineering.. But for now, she’s this week’s Scholar Athlete.

If you’re an area Varsity coach and would like to nominate an athlete for our weekly award, you can e-mail Jenna Callari at

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